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Teachers in an Indiana school were shot in the back with plastic pellets by sheriffs' deputies during a January "active shooter drill," according to testimony in a legislative hearing this week. The rubber pellets, a bit bigger than a BB, were fired from an Airsoft pellet gun; at least one teacher reported the things raised welts and drew blood. But come on, it definitely got the point across that during an actual school shooting, people may get shot. That's very educational! The Indianapolis Star has the juicy stinging details:

[The incident] was confirmed by two elementary school teachers in Monticello, who described an exercise in which teachers were asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall before being sprayed across their backs with plastic pellets without warning.

"They told us, 'This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,'" said one of the two teachers, both of whom asked IndyStar not to be identified out of concern for their jobs. "They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times.

"It hurt so bad."

Well look, lady, you're the one who volunteered to be on the front lines of combat by choosing to teach elementary school. Next we suppose you'll complain about having to carry your platoon's M-60 machine gun to the cafeteria. Nobody wants to hump the pig, but it's that or take point, OK?

The Indiana State Teachers Association, the state's teacher union, is asking lawmakers to add language prohibiting such simulated executions of school staff from future training, even though the sheriff's department that helpfully took teachers four at a time into a closet and pretended to blow them away has already promised not to do it anymore.


"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 in support of House Bill 1004 before lawmakers Wednesday.

State law mandates an annual active shooter drill for all schools, although the existing legislation leaves the methods up to individual districts and cooperating law enforcement agencies. The teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary were receiving what's called "ALICE" training, as in "Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate." It's allegedly meant to prepare teachers and students to consider all their options during a school shooting instead of just cowering and preparing to die. Maybe they could hide! Maybe they could rush the shooter! Maybe they could live in New Zealand -- did they ever think of just being in New Zealand?

The Star notes, in what we hope is deadpan,

Thousands of schools across the country, including many in Indiana, are using ALICE already. Shooting teachers with plastic pellets is not typically part of the training.

White County Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose department ran the January training, comes off hilariously defensive and not-quite apologetic all at once, as if it's still a complete mystery to him how anyone could have a problem with his innovative methods. He said his department has previously used the Airsoft gun without incident, jeez you guys.

"It's a soft, round projectile," he said. "The key here is 'soft.'" [...]

Brooks became sheriff in January and said he couldn't say if or how many times teachers had been shot with it previously. He was present for part of the January training, but not the portion in which the airsoft gun was used.

"They all knew they could be," Brooks said. "It's a shooting exercise."

Duh, what did you think it was going to be, a pretty little party with tea and crumpets? We're at war, and how are you going to survive if you aren't ready for some realistic combat simulations, ladies?

Brooks said all the teachers involved signed up to participate. He said the department was told several weeks after the training that one teacher was upset by it. They've since stopped using the airsoft gun with teachers, he said.

"We were made aware that one teacher was upset," he said. "And we ended it."

God, it's like how just one lawsuit from parents of some dumb kid whose head got in the way of lawn darts and died ruined summertime for America.

You have to admit, though, the training sure got the point across that being shot is no picnic!

One of the teachers said she was waiting in the library with her colleagues as the first small group of teachers was led into a classroom for one session.

"The firsts group went in and we heard them scream and yell," she said. "We thought, 'What is going on?'"

The group came back out and whispered a warning to the next group — the officers had told them not to tell their colleagues what had happened — but she still wasn't expecting what came next.

"It was like a quick spew of those pellets," she said. "Most of us got hit several times in our backs."

She said she had welts and one spot where the pellet broke her skin. It was scabbed over for several weeks.

Christ, the first group of teachers had to go and tell, even though they'd been specifically warned not to? That totally ruined the surprise! No wonder there's no respect for law and order these days.

An Ohio school safety expert who consults with schools all over the country, Ken Trump, told the Star he hadn't previously heard of teachers being on the stinging side of a mock execution before, but added it's not the first time he's heard of injuries during active shooter drills, where sometimes the trainers can get a tad gung ho.

"Sadly, it doesn't surprise me," he said. "With some of these options-based trainings, we've seen (training) that's just really over the top."

Trump has previously criticized the booming school safety consulting business as plagued with "overnight experts, gadgets, and gurus who have popped up out of the blue" to cash in on mandatory active shooter drills, as The Nation detailed last year:

After the Columbine massacre, Trump recalls, there was a "fairly reasonable conversation" about security. By contrast, in the years since the slaughter at Sandy Hook, "it's been the worst I've seen in 30-plus years, in terms of people responding emotionally and businesses preying on the emotions of people who are afraid."

Trump (we keep wanting him to add "no relation") told the Star part of the problem derives from safety consultants' business model, too:

Oftentimes, these programs are taught in a "train the trainer" model. One or two law enforcement officers will receive the training through an organization and then go back and train others in their department. It can leave room for interpretation, Trump said.

Like interpretations that involve shooting teachers with hard rubber BBs, and why would anyone object to that? Still, it seems some teachers just don't seem to get the point that, as combatants, they have chosen to put their lives on the line.

One teacher said the officers told the Meadowlawn staff that police had to go through this same training.

"But we are not police officers," she said.

The sponsor of the bill to update Indiana's school safety law, Republican state Rep. Wendy McNamara, said she'd certainly be open to adding language banning trainers from shooting pellets at teachers, although any amendment would need to be worked out with the state Senate since the House has already passed its version. "I don't believe something like that should take place in an active-shooter drill," she said. She'd probably object to having teachers run through the classroom yelling "Serpentine! Serpentine!" while dodging live fire, too.

For his part, though, Sheriff Brooks says he doesn't think there needs to be any new laws, no sir!

"We don't need legislation in White County," he said. "We're just not going to do it."

Also would you all just get the hell off his back he is tired of all your whining already, it's not like anyone was really injured. Can't we all just get back to the important thing, which is terrifying the fuck out of little kids so they'll be safe?

Just don't say anything about making guns harder to get. You might REALLY get shot.

[Indianapolis Star / Nation]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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