My MacGyvered Teacher Toolbox for Self-Defense




teachertoolbox1 - Copy

I’m a sitting duck. I work in a Weapons Free Zone – (A.K.A.) Victim Zone – with 850 potential victims.

We hate to entertain the thought – especially during the holiday season – of a crazed, heavily armed student strolling into school and spraying lead like he’s playing a video game. But it has happened – and could happen again. How likely would a massacre happen at your child’s school? Don’t know. One set on killing will simply stroll through the front door with the “No Weapons” sign posted. I’d call this fear mongering if school shootings had never occurred.

Bringing pencils and paper to a gun fight

I am not allowed to carry my normal tools of self-defense to my government school since I don’t wear a funny hat and uniform. That leaves me vulnerable. So, to minimize my sitting-duck-ness, I employ what’s legally available.

In any trade, craftsmen need the proper tools to get the job done right. My teacher tool box doesn’t contain bulletin board trim, red pens, pencils, or gold stars. My red toolbox is full of real hand tools.

I’m the resident school handyman. Teachers and administrators ask me to fix stuff from shelving to hanging white erase boards. Well, that requires tools. Think redundancy here. The small toolbox pictured above serves two purposes:

  • The intended purpose – fix stuff
  • Alternative purpose – tools of defense if necessary

Here’s a run down of my alternative tools of defense I’d employ only if escape and evasion is not possible with an active shooter inside the building. NOTE: This is my plan. Your mileage may vary. I’m not advocating that others (adult or student) use my plan. Until the Powers That Be issue me a permission slip (I’m not holding my breath on this one) to carry real tools of self-defense to my job, I’ll have to improvise. I mean, what makes the funny-hat-crowd more ‘qualified’ to carry guns into schools? That’s a topic for later discussion.

1.) Annihilator Ultimate Wrecking Bar

Show some tough love!

I bought this one just for my teacher toolbox. I’ve used to open a stuck locker before. It even has a bottle opener. It would make an improvised throwing axe if a target was in range. Closer, and with an element of surprise, it offers skull/bone demolition.

2.) Jawbone of an ass. Samson, of Bible fame, used a jawbone to put the smack-down on 1,000 Philistines. I’m not sure which animal donated this one. A fellow teacher brought it to me from a pasture. From an ass or not, it’s a menacing weapon in my Science class.

Samson's wild weapon of choice

Samson’s wild weapon of choice

You’ll also notice a hoe handle and juggling pin in the photo of the toolbox at the top of this post. The hoe handle has the metal end attached. I found it in the throw away pile in the back of the school. Two more alternative tools of defense in my arsenal.

3.) Flashlight. Being a flashaholic, I carry a Streamlight ProTac 2L in my pocket at school. The tail button switches from high, strobe, and low. Strobe would be useful in a dark environment to disorient attackers and give me time to escape or use another improvised tool of violence on the shooter.

Clockwise from top: Aluminum clipboard, Swiss Army Knife, StreamLight ProTac 2L flashlight

Clockwise from top: Aluminum clipboard, Swiss Army knife, StreamLight ProTac 2L flashlight

  • Clipboard – From my contractor days, this tool filled with paper might stop a small-caliber pistol bullet intended for vital bodily parts. I’ll have to put it through testing to find out for sure.
  • The Swiss Army knife serves as pencil sharpener, nail trimmer, screw tightener, and other handy tasks. It’s not for self-defense. It’s always in my pocket at school.

Escape is the first order of action. Which leads me to ….

4.) Alternate escape/concealed route. Bringing pencils to a gun fight is a bad idea. Escaping from the threat is first priority. If running out of the building exits is not an option for me and my kids, we will barricade the locked classroom door, climb on the lockers and hide in the ceiling until the treat is neutralized. Experts say that these types of incidents last between 3 to 15 minutes on average. There’s not much room to move about between the drop ceiling and the roof. But sitting quietly on the cinder block walls in the crawl space might work. If I’m without kids, I can move to the end of the hall along the top of the wall and drop into the hall at the exit door to make an escape.

On barricading my door, I have enough solid furniture to wedge between the door and the opposite wall. Making my door “hardened” might buy enough time to escape through the ceiling or shelter in place until good guys with guns show up.

Through the ceiling hidout

Through the ceiling hideout

Peeking into the ceiling with my flashlight

Peeking into the ceiling with my flashlight

5.) Fire Extinguisher. A blast from this to the face may give me the advantage needed to escape or overcome the attacker.

Unload on the shooter

Unload on the shooter

I’ve tried to think of alternative weapon legally available to me in my gun-free work environment. While they are no match to a heavily armed crazy man, thinking ahead might save my life and those in my care.

Got any more ideas on tools to add to my teacher toolbox? I’d really appreciate hearing from you.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Government "Education", Preparedness, Self Defense, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “My MacGyvered Teacher Toolbox for Self-Defense

  1. TexasScout

    In my wife’s school ANY kind of knife will get you fired. They use plastic “Sporks” in the cafeteria.

    BTW, there ARE bullet resistant clipboards and briefcases out there.



    • Tex, I’ve seen the bullet proof clipboards before. Maybe Santa will deliver. I guess my school is a little more lenient than you wife’s. I ate left over steak at school yesterday with a steak knife from home. Sporks just won’t cut it – literally and figuratively. I’ve found the Collective that issues “permission” for our safety to be moronic. It’s all about controlling the herd.


    • Mike from Shreveport

      Yes, they even make aluminum and possibly even steel ones (some are made in the fashion of a box to keep papers and folders in, so that’s DOUBLE WALL CONSTRUCTION.


  2. Vikki

    A can of wasp spray. You can say you have seen them in your classroom. I have heard they spray quite aways and are just as effective as pepper spray.


  3. I am also a science teacher. Carrying a pocket knife for me is a tool of the trade and would be defended as such if asked. Also, I keep some old golf clubs near my desk to practice my “swing.”


    • Another great overlooked improvised weapon there Rob. Even if one is not an avid golfer, boss wouldn’t think anything about a few clubs leaning against a wall. If you’re good enough, close the face on your 3 iron and rip a ball at the thug… 🙂


  4. Oh, I don’t have more ideas for you. You see, I was at first going to comment on how great the Annihilator looks as a weapon. But then you busted out “jawbone of an ass.”

    I don’t work in an educational setting, and yet still I can imagine no nobler way of defending yourself. That’s not clubbing, sir, that is smiting.

    Unfortunately, I’m not finding an easy way to buy one online. 🙂


    • SB, man, you’d think I’d learn not read your comments with coffee in mouth… “smiting” made me swallow fast, burn my tongue, and laugh out loud.
      Hey, there’s a small business idea waiting to happen…start up cost under $100. First marketing testimonial: “How a jawbone saved my ass”


      • Yes indeed! And to think we were focusing on chickens and then perhaps a cow or two one day.

        “Donkey tacos, milk, and mighty smiting ~ three underrated #preppertalk #multiuse bonuses of donkeys.”

        Such a post would require some way of using the picture of Donkey from Shrek. I know, I know, copyright shmopyright. He’s simply the best donkey I know.

        Best to avoid the phrase “@ss milk or tacos.” No saying what kinda folk that would cause the search engines to send over here. 🙂


      • “Donkey tacos, milk, and mighty smiting ~ three underrated #preppertalk #multiuse bonuses of donkeys.”
        Write and watch it go viral…


    • The problem with the jawbone is the new 3 day waiting period and limitation to jawbones with 7 or fewer teeth.


  5. Ted

    A small ball pean hammer makes a toolbox compleate and makes ab very effective weapon.


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  7. Craig from Maine

    Bear defense spray


  8. Todd,

    I think if I were a classroom teacher I’d find myself a nice carbon fiber (light, tough and unbreakable) ‘pointer’ to use during my lessons. Make sure it’s long enough to extend your reach, but not so long it can’t be swung indoors. Followup with some lessons at a local dojo with whatever martial arts weapon most closely approximates your ‘pointer’ and you’ve got a great, close quarters capability. I remember my buddy’s Dad and 7th grade science teacher using a wooden version of this during lessons…and ‘swordfighting’ down the hall with other teachers…maybe it was ‘dual use’ as well.


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  11. Meesch

    Hand sanitizer burns like crazy if you get it in your eyes. If you are unfortunate enough to be in such close range, it could be used to potentially blind and disorient an attacker and is pretty widely acceptable in numerous settings where “weapons” might not be allowed. It also has the added benefit of being a disinfectant if someone is injured.

    Heavy yardsticks (like the thick wooden sticks that double as canes) would also be handy in an educational setting… or a cane itself.

    Paracord or rope could be used to help secure any doors that open outward from a room by allowing you to tie the door’s handle to a stationary point across the room or perhaps around a board or desk set across the doorway. It would make is more difficult to enter the room at least if no locking mechanism were present. Even packing wrap… the large rolls of plastic wrap used to cover pallets or wrap semi loose items while you’re moving would be helpful for securing a door. Same goes for duct tape… have you seen the episode of MythBusters where they make a bridge out of nothing by duct tape?


    • I got an idea from Hunker Down Homestead just now. Instead of using these (, tape the arm of the door with several wraps of Gorilla Tape. Plus, I can barricade the door with my two teacher desks and other furniture making a solid back stop from door to adjacent wall.

      I also have a hoe handle behind my desk. Longer than a walking cane 🙂


  12. Hunker Down Homestead

    One of these looks like a good idea for securing the door if it’s the right style.


    • I remember seeing these before and thought the same thing. I’ve got wooden wedges I can pound under my door if the need arises. Thanks for sharing!


  13. ASP baton, tape one inside a drawer under the desktop. Have another one hidden somewhere else.

    Have a pair of heavy metal holders put on each side of your door and have a steel bar standing in the corner to bar the door. make sure they are complete and not open at the top so a window cant be smashed and reach in to lift it, a simple bolt can be set into a hole that will slow down someone from trying it in a hurry. Add a can of black spraypaint to paint the window over in a hurry to shield the interior from view (should really mention this one to staff)

    You’re in a school, which has books, which can be hollowed out to hold items… just put them up where the kids cant find them or keep it in your desk…

    Roofing shingle hatchet… one end hammer, other end, AX. Keep sharp.

    Never ending supply of screwdrivers!!! A little filing on a few Phillips head ones might improve their puncture ability. Flathead work too. Chisel’s too 🙂

    Teach science?? Watch a few shows on Jailhouse Shanks and improvised weapons… When you can take a newspaper and turn it into a crossbow, you’ll know what I’m talking about…

    Make it a lesson on transforming ordinary objects from pliable and wiggly into stiff and solid. Simple science stuff 🙂 That way you’ll always have SOME kids project laying around.

    Another thought would be a paint ball trap.. they are CO2 charged, and typically have paint in them, but if one were to put some other spicy habanjero pepper (the green stuff) concoction into them, would be a great delay tactic that could be charged and set in a short time, just store the liquid in a sealed container until ready to set and then put the trigger cord on the door knob and duct tape the trap to the wall by the door or above it so when its opened just enough for them to enter it fires.. will SOAK them in what ever you put in it…

    CO2 can be used in a variety of ways, from pencil guns to tater launchers… You do school repairs, so place a few well positioned tater guns in the ceilings around the school, paint a small black spot on a corner of the ceiling tile, and load the things up with some projectiles and have a can of hair spray by each one… make them about 2″ in diameter for the launch tubes and you should be able to handle about anything…

    Downside to all the above… Students learn what you have done and set up, and use it against you and others… admins learn what you have setup and fire you…. Stealth and subtlety are the keywords …

    Last item would the parts for a single shot zip gun… .380 cal, piece of steel pipe for a barrel, spring, nail, and a coupling and end cap… I believe i’ve seen the plans on the vid site … just keep the rounds in your pocket.. cause when it hits the fan, i’d rather be fired than dead….

    Good luck…


    • Wolfy Wolf, I like the way you think 🙂

      Had a kid make an marsh mellow gun last year. Pressurized it with a bicycle pump. I shot a 1/2 piece of hot glue stick over 200 ft. Very good at chucking projectiles.

      I shared my emergency plans with my students and our staff. I didn’t reveal all my secrets 😉

      Thanks for your thoughtful contribution!!


  14. Becky

    Throw bleach/any other strong cleaner in their face (the wasp spray is better, it shoots out beautifully, I had to kill yellow jackets recently). Unscrew the handle on a pushbroom/other similar item and whack them in the face using the full weight and swing of your body (or a ball bat you keep in your closet to prop the door or whatever reason). Practice swinging with full force on a heavy bag (thing sold for punching practice). Use window squeegees like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles use Scythes. I wouldn’t throw your annihilator unless you had no other option, better to run up fast and what them on the head as hard as you can. If you throw and miss, you can’t recover it, and tests have shown a person running can close on another person before they can draw a weapon (like a pistol in a holster) usually (Mythbusters episode). Zig zag if you are running away,it’s much harder to hit someone.


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  18. C

    I just saw a great tool for defense in a school or other public buildings. It uses a fire extinguisher on its side with hose still in its holder. You are holding the controls in your dominant hand and supporting the end of the fire extinguisher with your other hand. The person hides behind a door and waits for the intruder. The person give the intruder a shot with the fire extinguisher and follows that up with hitting the intruder with the end of the fire extinguisher. Nasty but effective.


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