21 January 2015

"Active shooter" school drill done without notification

Police officers in Florida surprised students, teachers and parents Thursday with an active shooter drill. And by “active shooter drill,” we mean that a Winter Haven middle school went into lockdown as two armed police officers burst into classrooms, guns drawn, leaving the unsuspecting children terrified — and their parents furious.

According to Fox affiliate WTVT, officials at Jewett Middle Academy e-mailed parents to inform them of the drill, after it took place. By that point, WTVT reports, cellphones were already filling up with texts from frightened students, who thought there was a real shooter in the school.

Winter Haven police told The Post that one of the officers had his duty firearm – a handgun – drawn. The gun was loaded, as required. The other officer was carrying an unloaded AR-15. According to Ray, one of her other children texted: “I thought he was going to shoot me.”

“We don’t want students to be scared, but we need them to be safe.”
That's one viewpoint.  Others would argue that a pre-announced drill would be educational; a surprise drill is designed to frighten and intimidate.
But not all active shooter drills are surprises: WTVT spoke to officials in two neighboring Florida counties, where police said that their officers conduct drills in empty schools, usually over a holiday break.
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