Self-defense class teaching teachers in Newtown - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Self-defense class teaching teachers in Newtown

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A self-defense training coordinator offered Newtown teachers free courses because he was moved by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, and many of them took him up on the offer.

"We suffered through a tremendous tragedy and I think the town of Newtown, we're getting back on our feet," said Newtown teacher Doug Michlovitz. "The response around the world has been amazing and I think what this does is just give me more confidence."

Cannon Ridge Training Center owner Christopher Petitti led classes in Krav Maga, which is a self-defense system used by Israeli Defense Forces, at the facility Wednesday evening.  The classes taught people how to defend themselves against weapons and unexpected attacks.

"My biggest thing is bring the teachers in here, let them bring their confidence back up," Petitti said.

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother while she slept at her home before he went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults. He killed himself as police made their way into the building.

Following the tragedy, Petitti said several teachers reached out to him immediately and they wanted to learn how to protect themselves and their kids and the focus is more on increasing confidence.

"Not so much against a threat of a street attack or a violent attack, but just a simple injury," Petitti said. "A student gets hurt during an emergency. What to do in a fire or medical emergency? How to handle pressure?"

Friday was supposed to be the last day of registration, but there was so much feedback. Petitti said he is going to keep registration open until the end of February.

In total, 22 teachers from Newtown and surrounding towns have free classes, which are being offered four times a week.

"They're always looking to the adults for guidance of is this a good situation or bad," said Orange teacher Jill Zitnay. "So if I'm feeling calmer and more in control, I feel like they will be too."

Self-defense classes will run through the school year.

"I'm not ready to take on the world quite yet," said Lea Attanasio, who is a teacher in Newtown. "Give me a couple of weeks, but it's a fun way to learn about personal safety."

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