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Free martial arts training offered to Gaston teachers

By Rad Berky
NBC Charlotte / WCNC.COM

Gastonia If the situation should arise, could a school teacher do something to disarm a man with a gun who was intent on hurting students?

“Yes,” says the owner of Ryan Hoover’s Extreme Karate in Gastonia.

Hoover has designed what he calls The Safe Campus Now Program. It is a workshop that will train any Gaston County teacher or school staff member in offensive and defensive tactics – for free.

Hoover created the workshop in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 children and six staff members died.

“If, God forbid, somebody actually gets through a door, it will give them some options. Tools that they can use to help neutralize the threat,” Hoover said.

Hoover recently assisted in a similar workshop in San Antonio, Texas, where 70 teachers and staff members went through a program like his.

Hoover knows it will not always be easy to convince a teacher that he or she can go on the offensive.

“Where a teacher’s initial inclination may be to shield children, what we want to do is have them understand that while that may be innate, action is going to actually protect the kids,” he said.

Ken Glenn is an instructor who works with Hoover. His daughter attends a Gastonia school and his wife is a teacher at that school.

“She is a little hesitant to do it but she knows it is necessary so she is all on board about doing it,” Glenn said.

The first free workshop for all teachers and staff will be held February 2 from noon to 2 p.m. at the West Gastonia Boys and Girls Club on South Boyd Street.

Participants should bring their school ID.

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