Last January, during an active-shooter training exercise, teachers at an Indiana elementary school were asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall. They were then sprayed with plastic pellets without warning to show the consequences of inaction during a live shooting.
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,'” one teacher told the Indianapolis Star. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. It hurt so bad.”
Details of the incident came to light when the Indiana State Teacher’s Association, Indiana’s largest teacher union, posted details of the incident on Twitter while in Indianapolis Wednesday to provide recommendations for a bill concerning school safety.
“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,” the ISTA tweeted.
The teachers are lobbying to add language to Bill 1104 prohibiting teachers from being shot with any sort of ammunition.
“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,” said Gail Zeheralis, director of government relations for the ISTA, during testimony, according to the Indianapolis Star.
— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 21, 2019
The event took place at Meadowlawn Elementary in Monticello which is part of the Twin Lakes District. The drill was part of “alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate” (ALICE) training, which helps prepare schools for an active-shooter event, according to CNN.
ALICE training is an “options-based” approach that encourages students and teachers to be proactive in their response to an active-shooter and teaches tactics that include rushing a shooter in some situations.
Indiana Middle School Teacher Jason Seaman subdued an active-shooter last spring. Only three students were injured before the 29-year-old tackled the shooter and cleared the classroom, according to CNN.
White County Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose department led the training in question, said they have used airsoft guns in previous sessions.
“It’s a soft, round projectile,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “The key here is ‘soft.'”
The plastic pellets are 4.6 mm in diameter, slightly larger than a standard BB.
Thousands of schools across the country, including many in Indiana, are using ALICE already. There have been no reports of law enforcement shooting teachers with plastic pellets to date.
“The bill calls for active-shooter training but I want to make sure that it’s clear… that being a part of an active shooter drill, we do not need to be that realistic in shooting pellets at our teachers,” Representative Wendy McNamara, a Republican legislator who authored HB 1004, told CNN.