BURLESON, Texas – Students in a suburban school district near Fort Worth, Texas, can learn how to defend themselves by throwing objects at an armed intruder, but a teacher went too far by instructing them to physically attack someone as part of a security program, district officials said Tuesday.

In recent days, the Burleson Independent School District sent letters home with 8,500 students clarifying its position on a training video that concerned parents and school officials when local news stations aired it on television earlier this month.

The video, produced by a company paid to teach safety classes at Burleson schools, showed children throwing objects at someone posing as an armed intruder in a classroom, then attacking him.

The classes are part of a security program launched by the district last year in an effort to make their schools safer. Greg Crane, a criminal justice teacher at Burleson High School and a former police officer, taught the skills through his company, Response Options.

District officials stressed that they still approve of the rest of Crane’s instructional material.

“We’re not backing off on what we call chaos theory – children and teachers throwing books, screaming, anything you can do to distract the intruder and get out of the room,” said district spokesman Richard Crummel said.

On Tuesday, a receptionist at Burleson High School said Crane was not there.

Crane did not answer repeated calls to his home, and Crummel declined to comment on news reports that he had been reassigned.

“All I can say is, he’s still employed by our school district,” he said.

The district agreed to pay Crane about $2,000 to teach the classes after he made a presentation to the district’s emergency management committee about 18 months ago, Crummel said.

Crummel also said officials had no problem with the fact that Crane is the husband of Norwood Elementary Principal Lisa Crane – the only one of 11 district principals who did not sign the letter sent home to students.

Crummel said he believed the students in the video were volunteers from Norwood and that the video was made during the summer.

Crane, 45, is a former police officer and SWAT team supervisor.

In an interview last week, Crane spoke about his program, saying his company hopes to spread it to other school districts.

“It’s about overcoming your initial fear, going through a mental process and developing the will to survive,” he said. “It’s about knowing that if someone comes into your school to hurt you, you have options.”

Crummel said many parents and others have supported the district’s efforts to teach students and staff how to defend themselves against armed intruders, especially after recent school shootings where children were killed even after doing everything their attackers asked.

Some experts have questioned whether students should be involved in “fight back” training methods.

(c) 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Visit the Star-Telegram on the World Wide Web at http://www.star-telegram.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-10-24-06 2209EDT

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