Burleson Wimps Out

The Burleson school district has “reassigned” Greg Crane, the teacher who was behind the training that taught students to fight back against an armed attacker.  Mr. Crane was formerly a police officer and developed the idea when he asked his wife, a teacher, what she would do if her classroom were to be attacked and she didn’t have an answer.

So far, there is only this video from Fox 4, so I don’t have a transcript to quote from. 

From the video, here is a brief summary:

  • Last Friday the district sent a letter to all parents outlining that they do not support any student resisting an attacker (i.e. they want to continue with the failed cooperate and die strategy).
  • The letter was signed by all principals in the district, save one, the principal of the school where Greg Crane taught, who also happens to be his wife.
  • Greg Crane was “reassigned” from his classroom teaching role to working from home.
  • The Burleson school district is now hiding behind confidentiality rules with regards to Mr. Crane and won’t discuss him further.
  • Mr. Crane says he has not been given a reason for the “reassignment” and is retaining a lawyer.

I should have known that a school district with the spine to teach children to resist an attack was too good to be true.  It sounds to me as if the district didn’t like being at the center of national attention with regards to the training and decided to throw Mr. Crane under the bus to make the stink go away.  But it seems fishy to me, since the Fox 4 report points out that hundreds of teachers and students have been trained in this method.  That couldn’t happen without at least the tacit approval of the school administration.

Update (10/26/2006):  Yesterday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram has more information about the situation in Burleson.

The district is “clarifying” its position:

Students in the Burleson school district can learn to defend themselves by throwing objects at an armed intruder, but a teacher went too far by instructing them to physically attack someone as part of a security program, district officials said Tuesday.

In recent days, the district sent letters home with 8,500 students clarifying its position on a training video that concerned parents and school officials when local TV news stations aired it this month.

The video, produced by a company paid to teach safety classes at Burleson schools, showed children throwing objects at someone posing as an armed intruder in a classroom, then attacking him.

The classes are part of a security program launched by the district last year to make schools safer. Greg Crane, a criminal-justice teacher at Burleson High School and a former police officer, taught the skills through his company, Response Options.

District officials said they still approve of the rest of Crane’s instructional material.

A money motive?  Or at least a distraction…

The letters come two weeks before voters will decide on a $259 million bond package to build and renovate schools as well as enhance security. Officials said the upcoming election has no bearing on their decision to notify parents about the video.

Fox 4 was saying that he’d been “reassigned,” although the Star Telegram couldn’t get a straight answer out of the school district:

On Tuesday, a receptionist at Burleson High said Crane was not there. Crane did not answer repeated calls to his home, and Crummel declined to comment on news reports that Crane had been reassigned.

“All I can say is, he’s still employed by our school district,” he said.

At least they aren’t staying with cooperate and die like I originally thought.  But just “distracting” the gunman without an attack seems more dangerous to me than attacking him.  Or at least it could be.  What happens when you run out of stuff to throw?  What about the last student who’s trying to run away after everyone else has escaped? 

Especially with a long gun, closing with the shooter might be better, but there are no hard and fast rules here.  I’m of the “shoot the bastard” school of thought, but that requires someone responsible with a gun on the scene.  And we all know what kind of wailing and moaning that type of thought generates. 

But one thing I do want to say about the whole “debate” is that the phrase “arming teachers” probably isn’t the best one.  For those of the socialist bent it brings up images of every teacher lining up in a school armory to obtain a gun (and if you think I’m being funny about this, just read some of the comments on this topic on various blogs).  We need a pithy, short, phrase to encapsulate the concept of getting the state out of the way of those who have the will and the skill to take action. 

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