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Teachers Fake Gunman Attack 863

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-crying-teacher-would-never-really-kill-you dept.
Anti_Climax writes "Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables. It'll be interesting to see what happens to these teachers after the charges brought against students in recent months."
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Teachers Fake Gunman Attack

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:35AM (#19112943)
    Won't somebody please think of the children.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:38AM (#19112973)
      Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here.
      • by andy666 (666062) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:55AM (#19113249)
        Completely! It makes me really angry to read, thinking of what my own daughter would feel in this situation. The only real reason that I can imagine these teachers doing this is that they are a fundamentally sadistic. It is incredibly cruel.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:36AM (#19112955)
    ...this is undeniably domestic terrorism.
    • by joebagodonuts (561066) <cmkrnl AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#19112991) Homepage Journal
      Besides just stupid. Why anyone would think this is a good idea is beyond me. We are truly making ourselves insane.

      "Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation 'involved poor judgment.'"

      You think so, Doctor?

      • by rblancarte (213492) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:02AM (#19113341) Homepage
        If there is one thing that the American populace has never failed to shock me on is their lack of common sense. We are blanketed by tons of laws that are nothing but common sense laws. IMHO, even without the Virginia Tech events in such resent memory, this was a bad idea, and common sense should tell you this.

        I think that there are ways to tackle issues such as this. One is probably the most obvious, talk about it. I think if you want to do something like this, you have to contact parents to alert them you want to do this, and give them the option to remove their kids from this class (and/or field trip).

        These teachers probably cost themselves their jobs as well as any chance to ever work in their field again. And considering their actions, that is probably a good thing.

        RonB
        • by maxume (22995) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:11AM (#19113465)
          Common sense isn't. Anywhere.
        • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:51AM (#19114057)
          Well not that I agree with what happened, but to play Devil's advocate...

          Some sort of "drill" for these things might not be a bad idea. Panic and poor preparation are 2 major killers in all life-and-death situations, so preparing students for this kind of thing can save lives. Make it dynamic, throwing a few curveballs into the mix (chained doors and such) to help them think on their feet. I mean, fire drills are pretty common and I'd imagine "bomb drills" are done, and let's not forget the "H Bomb Drills" of old (duck and cover!).

          Then again, they approached this thing poorly. They didn't treat it as a drill and instead scared the living goose feathers out of the kids. That's just messed up, particularly since the kids were so young and it was so soon after the VT shootings when people are nervous about such things. That would be like your boss screaming "There's a plane heading for our skyscraper! RUN!" on like 10/12/2001.
          • by VagaStorm (691999) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:15AM (#19114455) Homepage
            One of the larger problems with a drill like this as I see it, is that you rely cant prepare for it. You can tell the kids what to generally do in such a situation, but as no incident will be alike, it is very hard. With a fire drill, it is simple, evacuate the building using designated escape routes, if they for some reason are blocked you can discover that and select another route. Whereas in the event of a gunman in the hallway, if your escape route could very well be shooting at you befor you realize its a hinder. What happens during a drill where th students dos the smart thing and jumps from the 3. floor to get away? Bottom line is; if these drill where to be preformed, they NEED to be drills made out by someone who has some clue of what they are doing, which I severely doubt your general teacher do in this situation.
          • by wizzahd (995765) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:35PM (#19115835)

            Some sort of "drill" for these things might not be a bad idea. Panic and poor preparation are 2 major killers in all life-and-death situations, so preparing students for this kind of thing can save lives. Make it dynamic, throwing a few curveballs into the mix (chained doors and such) to help them think on their feet. I mean, fire drills are pretty common and I'd imagine "bomb drills" are done, and let's not forget the "H Bomb Drills" of old (duck and cover!).


            As an owner of a paintball field I'm around guns a hell of a lot. When everything happened at VT and I heard the guy simply walked in and shot people one by one, I was incredibly confused. I could not for the life of me think of a reason why you would watch a man with a gun walk in and start shooting your friends and NOT DO ANYTHING TO DEFEND YOURSELF. Obviously I wasn't there, and obviously there were probably some other circumstances. But out of thirty, what was it thirty two, people not one picked up a desk or a book and chucked it at this guy's head.

            We (in general) have lost our survival instinct. We've lost that 'fight or flight' and we've become sheep-like. "Oh, it's not me. Maybe he'll leave aft- ... OK, maybe after this one." It just blows my mind. Clearly you are going to be freaking out, but when your life is on the line you cannot freak out in a manner that has you sitting in your chair twiddling your fucking thumbs!!

            So yes. Maybe drills are the way to go. Paintball has helped me find my instincts (nothing to get your ass moving like a guy shooting 15 balls a second at you), but I realise that's not for everyone. People just need to be aware that, and this is key, shit happens! You can not plan for everything, but you have to be able to REACT.

            To stray back to the topic at hand, this is really fucked up and these teachers should be fired and given some kind of counseling. Something has to be loose in your head to think this is OK to do.
            • by apt142 (574425) on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:12PM (#19117805) Homepage Journal
              You can probably place the blame on the inaction due to the Bystander Effect [wikipedia.org].

              The question is, when everybody else around you is hiding, running, ducking and covering, how difficult would it be for you not to do the same?

              But, I agree with you that a little back bone and some forewarning could have easily reversed the hunter/prey situation in the Virginia Tech shooting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fordiman (689627)
      *blinks*

      Yeah. 'Cos you can prepare for a crazy dude bent on filling an elementary school full of lead. Who the hell thought this neurosis-inducing plan might be a good idea?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog (189103)

      ...this is undeniably domestic terrorism.
      Absolutely it is. The children were terrorized, and that was exactly the intent of the people who did this.
  • Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chemicaloli (1026172) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:38AM (#19112971)
    With fear of stating the obvious I'll say this: How could teachers show such bad judgement, maybe practising for this type of situation could be a valuable experience, but with professional help and advice as well as parental consent, otherwise it seems like professional suicide and being in the states certain to cause tons of lawsuits.
    • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:47AM (#19113107)
      What confuses me is when they decided tricking the students was a good idea.

      The point of drills is not to educate on what to do when you're scared, the point is to educate on what to do in this specific situation. Take fire drills, for example: are students tricked into thinking their school is burning down? No, of course not. The point of the drill is to inculcate the directions that all students must follow in order to avoid chaos. Tricking the students achieves nothing but emotional distress--which is not helpful in any way--and disorder. Drills are there to make the procedure second nature so that disorder does not happen; they're there so that students in distress don't have to make decisions, because the drill spells out all decisions beforehand.

      Parental consent is ALWAYS necessary when anything out of the ordinary happens, especially when said extraordinary thing causes emotional distress. Unfortunately, the article didn't make it clear whether this was teachers acting on their own authority during a field trip, or whether this was sanctioned by the administration without parental consent, but whichever it was, this was stupid, stupid, stupid.
      • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cultrhetor (961872) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:50AM (#19113175) Journal
        You said the key words that will make these kids rich and get the teachers fired:
        "Emotional distress."
      • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by qwijibo (101731) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:52AM (#19113197)
        You're right about how drills are supposed to work. This was anti-training. Instead of teaching people how to think about situations and how to react and testing the results, they chose to see how people react under stress. Kids react the way they are taught, and this does nothing positive to reinforce positive reactions. If anything, it taught these kids that their teachers should not be trusted and will like to them for amusement.
      • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrWho520 (655973) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:04AM (#19113377) Journal
        Take fire drills, for example: are students tricked into thinking their school is burning down? No, of course not.

        When I was in high school, we received the same warning for a drill as for the real thing. No one panicked, but no one was sure whether it was real or fake. Let me reiterate, high school. This was monumentally poor judgement by the teachers and the administration (I cannot imagine this was done without some administator knowing something.)

        I think this exercise is worth considering, but not for sixth graders. Some thought should be taken as to student shooter situations, but recent events have been in high school and higher environments. Hear me out on this. Running this exercise in a high school would be advantageous. Teenagers think they are invincible in high school and would be more apt to go "vigilante" in this situation and try to track down a shooter. This exercise could help identify some of these lemmings.
        • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

          by djh101010 (656795) * on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:27AM (#19113689) Homepage Journal

          Running this exercise in a high school would be advantageous. Teenagers think they are invincible in high school and would be more apt to go "vigilante" in this situation and try to track down a shooter. This exercise could help identify some of these lemmings.


          What do you mean by that please? Because it looks like you're saying that if someone were to try to stop the situation, they're a lemming? Seems to me, cowering under a desk waiting to be shot in the head is the mindless, ineffective approach. A student tackling the gunman so others could disarm him, or a teacher with a concealed carry permit, or _any_ non-passive response, seems to be a hell of a lot better than just waiting to die.
          • I don't think he was suggesting that anyone hide under a desk, because that's equally as stupid as going after a gunman - both are only reasonable options when you have no other choice.

            I think he was suggesting more to get the hell away from the area via a safe route, or otherwise get somewhere the gunman can't get to (i.e. blockade yourself into a room much like the students that survived Virginia Tech did).

            Both your suggestions are prime examples of what the person you were responding to meant when he men
            • by djh101010 (656795) * on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:36AM (#19114829) Homepage Journal

              I don't think he was suggesting that anyone hide under a desk, because that's equally as stupid as going after a gunman - both are only reasonable options when you have no other choice.
              So you are claiming that duck and cover is equally as bad a choice, as someone taking a direct approach and stopping the shooter? Seriously?


              I think he was suggesting more to get the hell away from the area via a safe route, or otherwise get somewhere the gunman can't get to (i.e. blockade yourself into a room much like the students that survived Virginia Tech did).

              Right. That's how at least one of the professors got killed, by him shooting through the door. Better chance than sitting and waiting, sure, but so much less effective than if he'd had the means to effectively defend himself.


              Both your suggestions are prime examples of what the person you were responding to meant when he mentioned lemmings - people who just sit and die and people who, well, go and die. Both are equally stupid when there's another more blatantly sensible option - get to safety and let well trained police/soldiers wearing bulletproof vests and armed with flashbangs deal with the guy with a gun.

              In the case of VT, there wasn't a _get to safety_ option, was there. The hallways were occupied by a gunman, the exits had been chained shut. Waiting for professional help is what got them killed. ONE teacher with a gun could have stopped it at something less than 32 deaths. Even knowing that his intended victims were allowed to carry if they so chose might have deterred his entire rampage - it was obviously directed at helpless people. If he didn't know his victims were forced by law to be helpless, maybe he wouldn't have started in the first place.

              Lemmings aren't the ones fighting the killer and dying, lemmings are the ones dying while hoping that "well trained police/soldiers" will show up in time to save them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ender Ryan (79406)
          Teenagers think they are invincible in high school and would be more apt to go "vigilante" in this situation and try to track down a shooter. This exercise could help identify some of these lemmings.

          Why are you calling them "lemmings?" Someone who goes all vigilante and tries to do something is not following the herd.

          In many school shootings, fewer people would have died had students rushed the shooter(s) in an attempt to take them out. Especially in the VT massacre, where the shooter was allowed to metho
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tuoqui (1091447)
          Well when you consider some crazy bastard shot up an Amish 1-room schoolhouse, anything is possible.

          Though this is entirely the wrong way to go about teaching them what to do. I really do wish that the kids had a riot and beat the living #*$% out of the teachers and put them in ICU. Noone would have blamed them
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          When I was in high school, we received the same warning for a drill as for the real thing. No one panicked, but no one was sure whether it was real or fake. Let me reiterate, high school. This was monumentally poor judgement by the teachers and the administration (I cannot imagine this was done without some administator knowing something.)

          No - it's actually correct to use the same warning for a drill and the real thing. The idea is that the drill teaches your proper reflexes and actions - and when the rea

      • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:04AM (#19113381)
        Did you take fire drills serious at school? I didn't. The only way to get us out of the building was to threaten with "extra work" should you still be in the building after 5 Minutes. And even then we usually took a quick trip to the cafeteria coke dispenser (hey, standing 'round outside doing nothing makes you thirsty!).

        My guess is that they wanted to "test" how the kids would react in a "real" threat situation. But how fucking nuts do you have to be to use kids a guinea pigs for a psychological experiment without at the very least inform the parents about it? Even with information, this is no way to treat kids.

        For fuck's sake, those are teachers. Not some oddball nutjobs, or science wizards in their ivory tower, who have no connection with the emotional makeup of kids. Those are the people we send our kids to, every single day, to learn things.

        Do you wonder why kids snap and start shooting? When the adults we entrust them to don't even have the foggiest idea just what they do the the psyche of a child? This is something we hear about, because it has been so damn over the top that you can't simply keep it under cover anymore. How much psychological abuse do we never notice? How often do our kids get scarred by teachers who don't have the minuscle idea about motivating and actually encouraging the kids to learn, instead relying on scare and pressure?

        Damn, I think I know where those trigger-happy kids come from now!
        • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cyclop (780354) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:59AM (#19115213) Homepage Journal

          Do you wonder why kids snap and start shooting? When the adults we entrust them to don't even have the foggiest idea just what they do the the psyche of a child? This is something we hear about, because it has been so damn over the top that you can't simply keep it under cover anymore. How much psychological abuse do we never notice? How often do our kids get scarred by teachers who don't have the minuscle idea about motivating and actually encouraging the kids to learn, instead relying on scare and pressure?

          Stop this THINKOFTHECHILDREN!!!!1!11!! BS, please.

          The psychological problem with your children is that they live a too much protected life. They are hysterically protected and cared about. What would they learn about coping with conflicts, bad people, bad bosses, bad things of life and so on, in the world you want for them? Nothing. They would live in a carefully crafted shell of tender hydrophilic cotton, until it's too late for them to learn that the world is not that depicted by the Disney channel.

          Human beings didn't evolve in a happy, Teletubbies-like world. They evolved in a cruel savana full of bloody predators. Yet we are here. Childhood is made to learn to cope with bad situations, not to stay in a happy candy world.

          Let your children have emotional distress. Let your children smash their heads on the bad facts of life. They are children -they will quickly learn and know how to react and they will become stronger and stronger (if you have a family shaping those conflicts correctly, of course). What will make your children crazy, neurotic people is to let them discover how bad is the world at 20, when they won't be able to pick up any emotional instrument to cope with the world anymore.

      • Re:Poor judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cyclop (780354) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:53AM (#19115101) Homepage Journal

        Parental consent is ALWAYS necessary when anything out of the ordinary happens, especially when said extraordinary thing causes emotional distress.

        Oh please. Stop this "emotional distress" BS.

        My parents were subject to a LOT of "emotional distress" when they were children. My children father was a refugee from the Italian-Yugoslavia border during the WW II, fleeing to leave most of his relatives (except for his brother and his parents) slaughtered by the Tito army. My grandma, when a child, slept on the ruins of her bombed house. My mother, when a child, lived in Venezuela, with only my grandma caring of her while my grandpa worked 500 km apart and there were earthquakes and revolutions.

        Still, my parents and grandparents are psychologically healthy, very normal people. The fact is: human beings have been created to survive a much more cruel, distressing world than our Occidental world. A little distress is more than harmless: it is actually a benefit, because they learn to cope with stress and bad feeling when still young, instead of waiting too late to discover the world is not made of happy Disney cartoons.

        The only problem with that happening is that children will (wrongly) learn that OMG TERRORISTS are a common, everyday menace, while they should have to fear obesity much more for their lives, for example.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgardner100 (559892)
      How,

      Well, I had my head bitten off a few weeks ago by slashdotter's who insisted that children should be exposed to extreme violence as quickly as possible (I had suggested on holding off with getting them to play Halo etc until they were more mature) as apparently bears would eat them if they didn't (you thing I'm kidding, but look through the archives!)

      Personally of couse I say hold off with both Sex and violence as long as possible, they have a whole lifetime to follow up on those topics but the innocenc
  • Crying "wolf" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary DOT ad ... privacy AT gmail> on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:39AM (#19112985)
    Was it really smart to say it was not a drill? It sounds, you know, like crying "wolf"...
    • by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:10AM (#19113447)
      Had the students been taught to fight back [washtimes.com]. Since they were not told it was a drill, it could have been quite a sight with 60 little ninjas armed with pens, rulers and flying calculators. Not a pretty sight to say the least...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:39AM (#19112987)
    Well, at least they have started their education in not trusting authority, and learning that those in authority will lie to you. This is one of the lessons that most people don't get, until much later in life.
  • by Mephistophocles (930357) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:39AM (#19112989) Homepage
    Assume everyone is aware of this [chicagotribune.com] unfortunate story from a couple weeks ago. My suggestion is that these teachers and the principle do a little time of their own. In fact their sentence should probably be much harsher than the one given to the Chicago teenager. I think most parents would agree that we do halfway expect the teachers and administrators of that school to act more or less like responsible adults.
    • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:54AM (#19113233) Journal
      Seeing this story makes me think of Aqua Teen Hunger Force LED-pranksters and the Boston Police. The ATHF-pranksters are being held to task because of the over-reation of the Boston authorities. The same hysteria that brings the Boston Authorities to react in the way they did has informed these Tennessee teachers.

      They (thought) it was a correct behaviour in this "post 9/11 world" (whatver that is), and were made to look extremely foolish. But now we have an ACTUAL case of terrorism. In this case, these teachers *actually* terrorized these students. There motivation matters not. They have *actually* done to these children what the Boston Authorities (B.A.) did to Boston (but, then, pinned the blame on the ATHF, who had no reason to think anyone could react in the ridiculous manner of the B.A.

      These teachers should be drawn and quartered for their ACTUAL act of abuse of these children.
      • by Sancho (17056) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:26AM (#19114633) Homepage
        Hi.

        But now we have an ACTUAL case of terrorism.
        Let's not play our government's game of claiming things are terrorism when really, they're not. Terrorism refers to attempts to use violence and threats to coerce and incite change in those who have power. Terrorism does NOT refer to scaring people (I am not a terrorist if I jump out of the bushes and shout "boo!") Terrorism also isn't simply scaring people on a larger scale (I am not a terrorist if I jump out of the bushes and shout "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"). Some people in power would have you believe that any form of inducing fear is terrorism, however these are the people who are trying to get a stranglehold on your civil rights by making you afraid of your own shadow. Please don't follow in their footsteps by labelling this insane lack of judgement and high liklihood of emotional scarring 'terrorism'.
  • What Maroons! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#19112993)
    How can they be so stupid? These kids won't trust teachers ever again ... and they'll probably have trouble with authority figures for the rest of their lives.

    I say we take the asshats responsible for this and lock them in the school's auditorium with all the angry parents and let the asshats see how it feels to fear for their lives.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#19113009)
    If you feel so inclined, go ahead and let the school know what you think about this ...

    http://www.cityschools.net/schoolsites/se/index.ht ml [cityschools.net]
    Scales Elementary Telephone (615) 895-5279

  • by screeble (664005) <(jnfuller) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:41AM (#19113015)
    While I read this article and think "Well, that was fucking stupid." I have to wonder if there needs to be a school-sanctioned version of this concept in place.

    I grew up in US/USSR Cold War times and spent a few schoolday hours a year huddled in the fallout shelter basement during drills. We also had tornado, flood and fire drills. What fun.

    Seems to me that as shootings get more prevalent it might be a good idea to have drills to limit deaths from mass panic.
    • by wass (72082) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:48AM (#19113135)
      In how many of those drills were you told it wasn't a drill and that the Soviets really were on their way to bomb the school? Or how many fire drills have you had where the teachers yelled that it's not a normal fire drill, the school really is burning down and you might burn to death?

      What these teachers did was equivalent of yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater.
  • No it won't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Visaris (553352) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:42AM (#19113031) Journal
    It'll be interesting to see what happens to these teachers after the charges brought against students in recent months.

    No it won't. Not much will happen to them. Unlike the student who was arrested a while ago for completing his essay assignment as sked, these teachers will not be arrested. At best they may be fired after a couple months of looking in to it. They will probably only get a slap on the wrist. Don't forget that America in not interested in protecting children. This is a perfect example. By pulling this stunt, the teachers were able to scare the kids and permanantly brand the image of terrorists into the Children's minds. It doesn't matter that the thing turned up to be a hoax, the less educated/experienced of the kids will live with fear for quite a while, perhaps their whole lives. The teachers are acting much as the rest of America acts. It more important to mold children into the "American Cog" than to treat them fairly, or to give them an education. I mean, after all, what about the terrorists?
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:42AM (#19113041)
    Gotta start teaching them to be scared at an early age, y'know...
  • Zero tolerance (Score:4, Informative)

    by faloi (738831) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:46AM (#19113089)
    If all those pesky zero tolerance rules get used, there should be a lot of fired teachers. Even without the zero tolerance rules, there should be a lot of fired teachers. I'm old enough to remember the nuclear "hide under the desk" drills, but they were always clear it was a drill.
  • by qwijibo (101731) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:47AM (#19113111)
    Doing a drill where students are taught what to do and try to react in a controlled environment might be reasonable. Whether or not the underlying idea has merit, training has to be right to have value. Executing a drill for the purpose of finding out how kids will respond is just sick amusement.

    Telling the kids that it wasn't a drill and they had to fear for their lives was counter productive at best. The teachers and administration that were involved in this should all be locked up. The purpose of this act was to terrorize the children. At a minimum, each person involved should be charged with one count of child abuse for each child affected by this incredibly retarded action. The closest any of them should be to a child for the rest of their lives is asking "do you want fries with that?"
  • Poor Judgment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by devnullkac (223246) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:49AM (#19113145) Homepage

    When an adult does it, it's "poor judgment;" when a student does it, it's "a potential threat that must be dealt with seriously."

  • by TheRon6 (929989) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:51AM (#19113189)
    Did anyone *ACTUALLY* think of the children before they decided this was a good idea?!?
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday May 14, 2007 @09:56AM (#19113265) Homepage
    Arrange for some convincing actors armed with high-quality toy weapons to threaten the idiot teachers who did this, in some time and place where they aren't expecting it. See how "educational" they find it.

    You know, some decades ago... before Columbine, before the year 2000 incident when what's his name shot coworkers at Edgewater Technology, and I believe before incidents in post offices made the phrase "going postal" part of the language... on one Halloween I thought it would be funny to wear a Halloween mask at work. It was a corpse-like mask that fit over my head. Apart from the mask, I was wearing my ordinary work clothes. I sort of scrooged down behind my computer monitor. I waited for a couple of coworkers to walk buy, then slowly stood up, saying nothing.

    Let me tell you, I was completely taken aback by the intensity of the moment of terror that evoked in my coworkers. The unspoken thought was that people don't wear masks unless they're robbing a bank, or something. I immediately took of the mask, apologized profusely, never did it again. I wasn't fired, lectured, or disciplined, but those coworkers were cool toward me for some time. I realized I'd made a serious goof.

    They were adults. It was Halloween. I did not have any weapons. I didn't jump out. I didn't say anything: not "Boo!", not "stick 'em up," or anything suggesing violence.

    And for a fraction of a second--my colleagues were in fear for their lives. Only a fraction of a second, but that's the effect of doing something like that.

    I can't begin to imagine the effects of a staged mock attack by adults on eleven-year-old-kids lasting for five minutes. That's not a short period of time to be in fear for one's life.
  • by phrostie (121428) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:03AM (#19113359)
    did they train them what to do first or were they just thrown into panic with no guidence?

    did they coordinate with local law inforcement and emergency services so they knew it was only a drill and participate in the drill?

    if something like this was done right it could be a good thing, this shows none the signs of having been done right.

    wonder what would have happened if someone had been seriously injured or killed in the panic?
  • by packetmon (977047) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:07AM (#19113413) Homepage
    They could never pull that off in NY... Those kindergarteners don't play that! [nytimes.com]
  • NOT a drill (Score:5, Informative)

    by bartyen (875475) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:20AM (#19113595)
    Here's a statement from the school administrators from the elementary school's homepage:

    http://cityschools.net/schoolsites/se/index.html [cityschools.net]

    While I agree that the administrators on the field trip might have been a bit boneheaded in pulling this particular prank in light of recent events, it doesn't sound like this was any kind of "drill" at all. They also seem to have done some kind of follow-up with the students' parents after the trip.
  • Procedures (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ultraexactzz (546422) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:20AM (#19113599) Journal
    My (catholic) high school had a set of procedures for this sort of thing. A former principal of the school was a priest named Father Schmidt, who had passed away about a decade prior. So, when they paged "Father Schmidt" to the office, it was a signal that there were hostages being taken somewhere in the building. We were to close and lock doors, kill lights, open windows, and huddle against an internal wall - presumably, so that we could be seen and counted from outside the building.

    I remember one year, where they announced on Monday Morning that they would run the drill at some point on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. They paged, we hid, then police officers cleared each room and told us what a wonderful job we had done. That was that.

    A planned drill is fine, these procedures should be rehearsed. But, what if one of these kids tried to be a hero? Someone really could have gotten hurt. These teachers need to be sacked, at the very lease.
  • Approval?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by necdeus (680552) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:26AM (#19113659)
    Isn't it interesting that schools need parental approval for sex education but no approval for violence education?
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:50AM (#19114047)
    I'm not condoning it but I think everyone has totally overreacted. It was only a prank and its made national news.
    America is breeding a country full of paranoid parents and kids that need psychotherapy if someone says boo to them.
  • by teh_chrizzle (963897) <kill-9@NOSPaM.hobbiton.org> on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:18AM (#19114495) Homepage

    faking attacks is good training in case of a real attack. when i was in the army we were the victims of mock ambushes and raids all the time in the field... often at night or when we stopped to piss. it taught us to always be on alert. my second week of basic training i learned to stop pissing mid-stream. by the 6th week my default reaction to being awakened was to choke whatever woke me up. even now that i have been out of the army for 10 years i occasionally wake up from nightmares and look around for my M16. i am sure these kids have received the same benefits, and in their formative years no less.

  • by N0decam (630188) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:33AM (#19114773) Homepage
    In grade 7, my teacher staged a crazy gunman attack in the classroom - mind you this was nearly 20 years ago now...

    First thing in the morning, he's starting up a lesson, and some guy barges into the room ranting about how he'd been cut off in traffic, and how angry he was. After a few shouted exchanges, he pulled a cap gun out of hit pocket and "shot" my teacher - though he got excited and "shot" himself in the foot instead. Then he ran out of the room.

    I think the point of the lesson was to teach us how to be good eyewitnesses or something. I don't remember if my teacher had a fake blood pack or not - could be that my memory has embellished it.

    We weren't cowering under our desks, but the accuracy of our eyewitness accounts was shockingly bad even seconds after the event.

    Mr. Selvig was a great teacher.

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