Students at a Florida middle school were going about their regular school day last Thursday when armed police officers — at least one of whom was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle — burst through classroom doors and put the school on lockdown, as terrified kids cowered under their desks. Only there was no shooter on campus; the police were conducting an “active shooter drill,” and neither the children nor their parents knew anything about it.
The Washington Post reports that parents were notified about the active shooter drill via email after it had happened. But for the parents, and the terrified children, that’s hardly any comfort. Jewett Middle Academy 7th-grader Lauren Marionneaux texted her mother, Stacy Ray, after a cop pointed a loaded handgun at her during the drill.
“I thought he was going to kill me.”
Polk County Public Schools spokesperson Jason Gearey is standing by the decision to hold an active shooter drill without telling the parents or the kids.
“Unfortunately, no one gets an advanced notice of real life emergencies. We don’t want students to be scared, but we need them to be safe.”
Winter Haven police spokesperson Charlie Bird told WTSP that some of the kids didn’t respond the way he thought they should have.
“The difference between a drill and an unannounced drill is that they thought this was real and people were in fear. However during this drill, an entire classroom was found to still be conducting teaching. There were students still wandering around not where they were supposed to be. Students still back at a desk playing video games.”
Parent Stacy Ray, via WTVT, said that she is not impressed by the school district’s or the police department’s justification for the drill.
“It’s very scary, especially from a parent’s perspective. You hear all this horrible stuff on the news and you think it might be happening at your child’s school.”
Jewett Middle Academy is not the first school to conduct an active shooter drill without warning the students or their parents. In March of this year, according to this Inquisitr report, Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey conducted a similar active shooter drill.
According to WTSP, so many Jewett Middle Academy parents complained about the unannounced active shooter drill that the district is re-thinking how they will conduct future drills.
[Image courtesy of: The Sage of Quay]