Florida Teachers Begin School Shooting Defense Business
A turning point came for her though in 2017, when one of her students threatened to shoot up the classroom.
By Patrick McCreless
PANAMA CITY BEACH — The threat of school shootings has been a fact of life for Julie Johnson her entire teaching career.
“When Columbine happened was my first year teaching … after class I was just watching this all unfold,” Johnson said, referring to the infamous 1999 high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. “The horror struck me — ‘what would I do?’ ”
Turns out, what she would do years later after training and many more school shootings, was quit her teaching job in Bay County to dedicate herself to educating other teachers how to defend themselves and their classrooms.
“Teachers need individual classroom plans. What we plan to do is go room by room and meet with teachers individually and make a plan … how to weaponize items in the classroom.”
Partnering with another local teacher, Scott Woodyard, and longtime martial arts instructor Carlos Cummings, Johnson recently opened Teachers Not Targets in Panama City Beach — a business dedicated to increasing the survival rate of educators during the era of mass school shootings. With the help of a consulting board that includes former police and firefighters, the business offers services from regular self-defense and trauma treatment training to school risk assessments and classroom protection plans.
“They want to protect children from harm,” Cummings said of Johnson and Woodyard. “Because when stuff goes down at a school, law enforcement isn’t there yet, so then what do you do?” …