Teachers at an Indiana elementary school say they were injured during an active shooter drill in which local sheriff’s deputies marched them into classrooms and shot them “execution style” with Airsoft guns.
Teachers testified to state lawmakers earlier this week that deputies made teachers kneel down against a classroom wall and peppered them with plastic pellets without warning, IndyStar reports.
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” said one of the teachers, whose identity has been withheld to protect her job. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. It hurt so bad.”
One teacher said a pellet broke her skin and left a scab for several weeks.
The testimony came as the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) is calling on lawmakers to ban teachers being shot with any type of ammunition during safety drills.
“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,” Gail Zeheralis, the group’s director of government relations, told lawmakers Wednesday.
‘This is Not Normal’:
The drill at Meadowlawn Elementary School was part of ALICE training, a program that trains thousands of schools around the country to be prepared for possible active shooters.
“I’ve worked with teachers in other districts who have gone through ALICE, and this did not happen,” the ISTA’s Barbara Deardorff told IndyStar. “This is not the normal practice.”
But White County Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose office ran the drill, says his deputies have used Airsoft guns in past drills, which they have run for several years.
Brooks said the teachers all signed up to participate, though teachers told the outlet they were not told they would be shot.
"We were made aware that one teacher was upset," he said. "And we ended it."
Critics say pass gun control instead of shooting teachers:
“The sheriff’s intransigence, the drill’s traumatic conclusion, even the simple existence of the drill, all stem from the same basic reality — America refuses to pass any meaningful gun-control legislation,” wrote New York Magazine’s Sarah Jones.
“There’s no point, legislators say. Mass shooters are evil, and no law can strip evil from the hearts of men. And so mass shootings become symptoms of something other than legislative malpractice. They become sins, or ‘a random force of nature,’ as the writer Patrick Blanchfield once put it,” she wrote. “We can’t prevent mass shootings, this logic insists, so we can only prepare for them. As Blanchfield noted, the proliferation of gun violence has spawned a lucrative cottage industry — bulletproof whiteboards and bulletproof backpacks and training programs that script extreme school-shooting drills.”
Many critics of American gun culture pointed to New Zealand’s near-immediate ban of semi-automatic weapons after last week’s mosque attacks.
“But our intransigence is not just about our political system or some buried nostalgia for a mythical cowboy past: it is also about money. Guns make certain people very rich — people like gun manufacturers and gun lobbyists,” Jones wrote.