COLUMBIA, Mo. -- When the school year begins, more teachers will be armed. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School more than a year and a half ago, nine states passed laws allowing teachers to have firearms in school.
It may look like target practice at a police academy, but these men and women are teachers. They're learning to defend their students against an increasingly common threat: a school shooting.
Their faces cannot be shown because they're the classroom equivalent of an air marshal on a plane. They carry their weapons anonymously.
When the semester begins, only the local police and school board will know they're armed.
An administrator says she chose to go through with the training because she's "from a rural school. And the response time is so slow to get any law enforcement help ... I felt it was important, if I was able to help and do something to protect our kids."
In Missouri, local school boards decide whether faculty can be armed.
Twelve of the state's districts employ teachers who are getting weapons training at Shield Solutions in West Plains.
Former Highway Patrolman Greg Martin runs the program. "We've taken people who have never really handled a handgun at all and given them this training and turn them out to where they score a 90 percent."
The training includes means five hours in the classroom and 35 hours on the gun range.
"We make it as realistic as possible because in the event that that happens, god forbid, we want them to be ready," says Martin.
Kathy Steinhoff is a high school math teacher in Columbia, Mo. She is very worried about the possibility of teachers carrying guns in school. Her district prohibits teachers from carrying guns.
Many critics say, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
But Steinhoff believes "...there's more than one way to stop a bad guy with a gun. But if it does take a good guy, then I want that good guy to be a police officer. "
While programs like Martin's are not common, a vast majority of Missouri lawmakers are pushing to make training mandatory for teachers with guns.
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