CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Since 2009, West Texas A&M University has been preparing future teachers with a “Violence in Schools Program.” It helps them prepare for potential future stressful situations, like an active shooter.

Instructors Dr. Amy Andersen, associate provost at WTAMU, and retired Criminal Justice professor Dr. Harry Hueston said every year around 150 candidates for student teaching that soon be graduating and will soon have their own classroom spend a half-day training in the program.

Dr. Hueston said the training is hands-on and scenarios will ramp up over the course of the training.

“We start at verbal judo, then from verbal judo, we will move into lockdowns and then from lockdowns to dealing with weapons in the classroom, then from weapons in the classroom to shootings outside the school and then we ramp it up and then we put them through a staged actually active shooter at a school and then we debrief them and decompress after that,” said Dr. Hueston.

Dr. Andersen said the hands-on aspect comes with roleplaying and seeing how the students will react to different scenarios. Dr. Hueston added this training is always evolving.

“This training back in 2009 doesn’t necessarily look like this. The training today is based upon unfortunately the number of incidents of active shooters in our country and outside our country,” said Dr. Hueston.

Dr. Andersen added that the class will have to update for those in August after the incident in Uvalde.

“We are going to have to look as this unfolds and we find out more and more about the response, about what happened and what went wrong and what went right. So we will be updating that training this summer based on that information as it comes out,” said Dr. Andersen.

Dr. Andersen said this training has never caused a person to shy away from wanting to be a teacher.

“We are trying not to scare them. We want them to be aware and to be prepared, so hopefully, that is exactly what is happening,” said Dr. Andersen.

Dr. Hueston said he believes classes like this should be required in all universities or colleges for future teachers.

Dr. Hueston added these active shooter situations can happen anywhere, anytime. And that there is nothing consistent with active shooter situations. Except that the perpetrator tends to be male and in the age range of 16 to 30.