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Former Soldier Provides Free Self-Defense Seminar For Local Teachers

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ)—After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., teachers are asking what they should do in a similar situation.

Mike Schuh reports a former Israeli Special Forces soldier has offered to help.

He’s taught soldiers, police, school administrators, teachers and regular people how to take away someone’s weapon. He says his lessons should only be used as a civilian’s last resort.

BK Blankchtein is highly trained.

“While in Israel served in the military, obviously,” he said.

With four years on Special Forces, he says civilians can be trained to disarm a gunman.

“We tell teachers when we teach them active shooter response that engaging an armed suspect is not the best idea. It’s totally a last resort, either that or die situation,” Blankchtein said.

After seeing what happened at Sandy Hook, 20 teachers and administrators from the area received training this past weekend at GBMC.

“At some point if a shooter does make his way to a room, it’s not just your life, it’s your life and the lives of 20 other kids. You need to have something you can do,” Blankchtein said.

His wife Phaygi Chinn Blankchtein works at an elementary school and is 9 months pregnant.

She wasn’t fluid at first, but she now knows the basics. They say basics are better than nothing.

“I would hope that the principals of doing something, getting out of the line of fire, staying out of the line of fire, even if they don’t remember the exact moves, just remembering to act and do something would work,” she said.

BK Blankchtein has trained more than 100 teachers how to disarm. And recently, two health care workers he trained at GBMC helped subdue a patient who was involved in the discharge of a police officer’s weapon.

He can’t and won’t make any guarantees but says a few simple lessons could save lives.

“We can do our part in empowering teachers, making them safer,” he said.

He did the weekend training and a similar domestic violence training session for free, but his classes at the studio are $100.

Masada Tactical is planning another teacher training seminar, but no dates have been set.

Students and teachers who survived the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.  nearly three weeks ago are preparing to head back to school.

Classes are set to resume on Thursday for students from Sandy Hook Elementary at a re-purposed school in the neighboring town of Monroe. The students’ desks, backpacks and other belongings that were left behind in the chaos following the shooting have been taken to the new school.

Twenty-six people–20 of them children– died in the shooting.

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