Polson School District is arming their staff and faculty, but it's not with firearms. The district is the first in the country to implement Reflex Protect, a non-lethal self-defense spray made by a Montana company.
"We needed a tool. We practiced the run, lock and fight protocol, and teachers know what that looks like, but we really haven't given them a tool to protect themselves in case they have to barricade inside a classroom," Polson School District Superintendent Rex Weltz said.
According to the company, the product is more effective than pepper spray. The company says Reflex Protect is like tear gas, but in gel form.
Reflex protect is made with Presidia Gel™ CS gel, a thickened formula made to be target specific. The product can spray an active shooter up to 20 feet away.
Polson Middle School and High School teachers were trained in using the product on Wednesday. According to Superintendent Weltz, there are now more than 200 adults trained in using Reflex Protect.
"I think it's a good safety measure. I hope we never have to use it but if we do, I want to be prepared. My fists aren't as capable as this spray," Polson High School teacher Becky Hoxie said.
The district bought almost 200 canisters of the product. It is now available for staff and faculty to carry with them or to keep in their classrooms.
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An officer recently trained on one of our first Reflex Protect sessions, carrying a pocket Presidia Gel on his duty belt, chose to use it when responding to a potentially violent domestic dispute on the 4th of July. Faced with a size and strength disadvantage of an inebriated man, who ignored repeated verbal commands, the officer unholstered his Reflex Protect.