Training Teachers to Carry Guns: Use Simulation to Increase Safety

Training Teachers to Carry Guns: Use Simulation to Increase Safety


In April, Tennessee became the latest state to pass a bill that allows teachers and school staff members to carry concealed guns on school property.

Gun violence and school safety are always highly emotional topics. A key issue regarding the allowance of firearms in schools is training. Many laws created to permit guns on campus mention training for teachers and staff members. But the content of that training is rarely well defined. That is of great concern in many communities.

In the case of Tennessee’s recent law, some opponents of the measure have argued that the training (which includes 40 hours of classroom instruction, a psychological evaluation, and a background check) is not intensive enough. More than 5,000 Tennesseans signed a letter objecting to the new law prior to its passage, noting that “anyone who hasn’t received extensive training, such as that provided to law enforcement officers, will likely be mentally unprepared to take a life, especially the life of a student assailant.”

Some experts are inclined to agree. As Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, pointed out: “There’s a lot more that goes into a public safety function than simply training someone to shoot, clean, and holster a gun.”


Comprehensive Firearms Training for Teachers

Texas’s school marshal program is a good example of what many believe should be the standard training program for armed teachers. In Texas, those who wish to become school marshals must undergo a rigorous 80-hour training program. This is composed of a series of 8- to 10-hour sessions run by one of two Texas law enforcement academies. Sessions cover weapons handling and basic marksmanship training almost identical to Texas peace officer training. Additionally, teachers who wish to become school marshals must participate in simulated large-scale scenarios, including a mass shooting event and apprehending an armed individual.

These harrowing, emotionally intense scenarios go well beyond basic role-play or a tabletop exercise: participants get hands-on with the shooter, blank rounds are fired, and volunteers run for cover, panic, and create the chaos one might expect in a real active shooter attack.

But even in Texas, where the armed educator skills training program is rigorous, well established, and more widely accepted, such programs can struggle. Officials say that a lack of funds, compounded by the logistic and budget challenges that come with this high level of safety training, creates roadblocks, even when a school or community is enthusiastic about the school marshal program.

The latest generation of simulation training has the potential to fill these gaps, offering more comprehensive training in more states at a lower cost.


Training Teachers to Carry Guns Safely Using Simulation Systems

Simulation-based training is already used to prepare law enforcement, emergency responders, and military personnel for many of the most intense, complex, and challenging situations they will face in the line of duty. Some of the existing simulated scenarios they use—such as active shooter training—can be just as beneficial for teachers and other school staff members, helping to cognitively and emotionally prepare them for the intensity of an armed attacker emergency.

But modern simulation platforms can offer schools even more, tailoring content to include the specific conditions and unique challenges educators and other school staff would face in an emergency.

MILO has decades of experience creating opportunities for trainees to confront novel and challenging situations in the safety and privacy of the training environment. MILO currently offers two training platforms that may interest communities and school districts: MILO Range and MILO VR.

Screen-based MILO Range systems have long been MILO’s flagship response training systems. Since 1994, MILO Range has helped law enforcement officers develop muscle memory and weapons skills while honing their defensive tactics and applying policy and procedures. MILO Range offers critical incident training, de-escalation, critical thinking, traditional tactical judgment, and firearms proficiency training. The interactive video branching scenarios serve as a “human interaction simulation” to train anyone to respond effectively in a crisis.

Immersive MILO VR brings even greater psychological depth and realism. This headset-based virtual reality system is optimized for intellectual and knowledge-based exercises, situational and spatial awareness, verbal and visual information gathering, emotional regulation, proxemics, tactical clearing, and de-escalation.


Expert Design and Development for Simulation Training

MILO has extensive experience creating various types of custom content for training in school settings. This includes developing VR simulations of school facilities or producing interactive HD videos filmed on school premises, which capture the unique characteristics of each building or community. MILO is committed to collaborating closely with schools to deliver tailored content that empowers teachers and staff to protect their students and enhance classroom safety.