Local teachers are taking matters into their own hands to protect themselves and their students.

Sunday, educators from across Albuquerque and Rio Rancho came together for the first of many self-defense and active shooter response courses.

“We live in a very unsafe world right now, I’m here to learn how to keep myself safe,” said Assistant Principal Deb Moya.

An Albuquerque Public Schools teacher, who also runs a dance company, opened up her space and partnered with a local combat coach to host the training. She wants to ensure her fellow educators can protect themselves.

“After the shooting in Florida, I think it hit us all differently because it happened again and we start asking ourselves what do we do differently,” said Christina Daly.

Daly said she’s implementing these weekly courses to replace fear with confidence.

“Our goal is to empower our teachers to give them confidence so that kids can be kids in the schools,” Daly said.

Included in the training was the use of pepper spray. Many of the teachers are advocating for a change in APS policy to allow them to carry it.

“Its a device that I can use if somebody attacks me,” Moya said.

These educators said they can defend themselves with an advanced version of pepper spray — the Tiger Light Defense Alert Device.

“I can spray them I can hit them, there is a lot I can do with it,” Moya said.

They believe the more they know the better they can teach and protect their students.

“I’m not interested in standing around waiting for a problem to be fixed on someone else’s watch, I’m doing what I can to fix the problem,” Daly said.

The unique pepper spray device also has an app, giving them access to emergency calls with the press of a button.

APS officers have active shooter training but it’s unclear if teachers do.