OAKMONT (KDKA) — As kids head back to school, some teachers are perfecting their lesson plans and decorating their classrooms. Others are learning how to take down an armed intruder.

KDKA got an exclusive inside look at a specialized training seminar in the Riverview School District in Oakmont.

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Parents and administrators wanted to bolster the district’s safety initiatives by giving its entire staff advanced critical response training.

However, there was little money in the annual budget. So the community did something very unique. Parents and residents started a fundraising campaign to collect enough money for the program.

Dr. Carl T. Hasselman helped spearhead the campaign.

“We, as a community, decided we would raise the funds to say, not only to the politicians but to other communities, the money’s there. We raise money all the time for kids. Why not raise money for something so vital for our community,” said Dr. Hasselman.

On Thursday, the gymnasium at the high school was packed with school employees. The program is called “ACIRT,” which stands for Automatic Critical Incident Response Tactics.

It was presented by Sam Rosenberg, the president of INPAX Academy of Personal Protection and Self Defense, based in Pittsburgh.

“The problem is not going away,” Rosenberg told KDKA’s Kym Gable. “School violence as we know it is only increasing and escalating.”

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His training focused on how to identify potential threats and how to react in those critical moments until law enforcement arrives. Much of the training was physical, with personnel learning how to actually disarm a gunman.

Oakmont Police Chief David R. DiSanti Sr. says his department is very involved in the program. His officers will follow up by training many of the school employees. The staff will learn from law enforcement and each other. It’s a concept called “Train the trainer.”

“For us not to prepare and do everything humanly possible to protect our children would be wrong,” said Chief DiSanti. “And we just have some strong community pillars. We want to say not here, not in our town.”

Math teacher Matthew Schenle says the afternoon was time well spent.

“I think when you first try to envision what this (an incident of school violence) would be like, you think that you are powerless. This training allowed us to realize we are in power,” he said.

Rosenberg says that empowerment is key.

“The fact that they can better identify a potential threat and they know what to do if they come face to face with an armed intruder in the worst case scenario, and that they no longer feel helpless,” Rosenberg said. “That’s a critical thing for me. That’s why I do this.”

For more information, visit INPAX Academy of Personal Protection and Self Defense’s website here: http://www.livewithconfidence.com/

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