Teachers at an Indiana elementary school were injured when they were shot with plastic pellets during an active shooter drill.
With concerns about the trauma children may experience during these drill, the story’s gone viral.
People, especially parents, want answers.
During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles – resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn.
— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
Teachers were left “with welts, bruises and abrasions after they were shot with plastic pellets by the local sheriff’s office conducting the session,” according to a report from The Indianapolis Star.
The report goes on to note that teachers “were asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall before being sprayed across their backs with plastic pellets without warning.”
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” said one teacher who described the January 4 incident who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity, citing fears that speaking out could cost them their job.
“They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. It hurt so bad.”
Gail Zeheralis, a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), testified about the incident before state lawmakers on Wednesday, March 20.
Zeheralis urged lawmakers to add language prohibiting the firing of projectiles during active shooter drills to a school safety bill.
“What we’re looking for is just a simple statement in this bill that would prohibit the shooting of some type of projectile at staff in an active-shooter drill,” she said in support of House Bill 1004.
Indiana teachers were shot with pellets during a recent active shooter drill, leaving welts and drawing blood, the Indiana State Teachers Association said.
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2019
ISTA’s vice president Keith Gambill said he was “horrified” when he first learned about the incident.
“I was horrified when I learned that teachers were called into a room and this was done to them,” Gambill told BuzzFeed News.
“I believe educators know and understand how horrific an active shooter event is. I don’t think we have to be so extreme in training individuals for this.”
The news is a hot topic as the world reels from the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead after a white supremacist used automatic weaponry to storm two mosques during Friday prayer services.
Blood drawn from Airsoft guns on ELEMENTARY SCHOOL teachers. The militarization of our schools and police force as a reaction to the American gun lobbies violent crime epidemic is without a doubt the biggest threat to public safety NOT immigration. https://t.co/2dkudyyEM8
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) March 22, 2019
This is unbelievable. The American people are already living in fear. Our leaders should be doing everything in their power to prevent trauma—not cause it. https://t.co/JhcP5Kj3Un
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) March 23, 2019
— LubiePhil 🇮🇪🇦🇺 Halloween is not American (@lubiephil) March 22, 2019
This is horrifying and immoral! I cannot imagine how traumatic this experience was for these TEACHERS! Men and women who dedicate their lives to educating students on subjects like math and science. NOT GUNS AND ACTIVE SHOOTERS! This “drill” was dangerous and unethical. pic.twitter.com/VPhBz7KeRC
— kaylah wright-soler (@misskaylahlahhh) March 22, 2019
What the fuck. I think teachers have a pretty damn good idea the dangers involved in an active shooter drill WITHOUT GETTING SHOT EXECUTION STYLE WITH A PAINTBALL. https://t.co/2ngZmnDe0q
— True Wit Teacher (@TrueWitTeacher) March 21, 2019
Teachers were receiving ALICE training––that’s an acronym for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate––which informs teachers and students how to take a “proactive” approach in their response to a situation where an active shooter might be present on campus.
Such tactics include rushing a shooter.
ALICE’s Facebook page claims that the program “empowers individuals to participate in their own survival in the critical time between the start of a violent event and the arrival of law enforcement.”
White County Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose department conducted the training, said the department had conducted similar active shooter drills for years and that these drills involved the use of an airsoft gun, which employ plastic pellets 4.6 mm in diameter.
“It’s a soft, round projectile,” he said. “The key here is ‘soft.'”
“They all knew they could be [shot],” he added.
“It’s a shooting exercise. We were made aware that one teacher was upset. And we ended it.”
The Meadowland staff members who spoke to The Indianapolis Star dispute Brooks’ claim.