Oregon school's horrifying shooting drill leaves teachers understandably traumatized
Last Friday, teachers at a rural Oregon charter school got the scare of a lifetime when two masked men wearing hoodies and wielding handguns burst into one of their meetings and opened fire. After a few heart pounding seconds, the teachers realized that the "bullets" were actually blanks and that the whole thing was part of a drill designed to test their preparation for an attack by shooters (which, in this case, were actually fellow staff members).
Oh my god! I'm all for being prepared, but do you really have to scare the bejeezus out of everybody to do it? Thankfully, no students were present at the time as they had an in-service day at home. But still, that sounds absolutely traumatic.
The teachers at the school had apparently previously received training on how to handle active shooter scenarios. But the drill caught them completely by surprise and served as a shocking wake-up call to many school officials. In fact, Principal Cammie DeCastro said it became very clear that had that been a real shooting, only two of the fifteen teachers present at the time would have likely survived.
And many school officials were also surprised to learn that while they thought they were well-prepared should a situation like that ever arise, some of them didn't even recognize the sounds of the gunfire. "I would have blown it off as kids' sounds in the hall," elementary teacher Dollie Beck said.
Now, the district's Safety Committee and the School Board is evaluating policies and procedures and deciding how to move forward. According to DeCastro, they are looking into either installing tougher doors and better locks or arming some teachers.
I honestly find this entire exercise completely appalling. There are just so many ways their little "drill" could've gone horribly wrong. Case in point? It's actually legal in Oregon for teachers to carry firearms into school, as long as they have a concealed handgun license. What if one of the teachers in the room had thought the attack was real and shot one of the two supposed gunmen?! Not to mention, that blank ammunition, while obviously not as loud or deadly as actual bullets, can still cause harm and shouldn't be toyed around with so irresponsibly.
If I was a teacher there, I would be raising hell with the administration for pulling what is essentially a completely unprofessional prank. Promoting vigilance and awareness is one thing, but this plan of theirs could've ended in serious disaster.
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