A mock school shooting drill was conducted in a rural Oregon district as masked police officers burst into a teacher staff meeting, opening fire on the panicked teachers with blanks.
The incident at at Pine Eagle Charter School was designed to test the school’s readiness for “active shooters,” but teachers said the mock shooting left them terrified.
“I’ll tell you, the whole situation was horrible,” said elementary teacher Morgan Gover, who received to fake “direct hits” from the shooters. “I got a couple in the front and a couple in the back.”
The mock school shooting, which took place while students had a day off, left only two of the 15 teachers unhit, said principal Cammie DeCastro. Many of the teachers were also unable to pinpoint the sound of gunfire, with some thinking instead it sounded like children playing loudly in the hall.
The shooting drill at Pine Eagle Charter School garnered national attention both for its shocking nature and for the lengths schools are now going to prepare for shooters. In the wake of December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been a debate about what safety measures should be taken at schools.
Some pointed out that there are few strategies that can stop an active shooter. They note that Sandy Hook Elementary School had just enacted new and stringent security policies, but they did not stop Adam Lanza from shooting his way into the school and killing 20 students and six adults.
DeCastro brushed aside concerns that the mock school shooting at Pine Eagle Charter School was unnecessarily frightening for teachers.
The gunman were not completely unexpected. The staff had recently received training from the Union County Sheriff’s Office on how to approach active shooters, including not rushing out of classrooms and instead locking and barricading doors.
After the mock school shooting drill, officials at Pine Eagle Charter School said they will use the results to refine future active shooter plans.