Terrifying Children for No Reason with Fake Gunmen: Public Education Just Doing Its Job

Jennifer Abel writing at the Anorak site has an amusing/horrifying summation of a burgeoning trend in public education: sending fake "gunmen" into schools, just, you know, to watch 'em squirm, near as I can tell. (The chance that anyone experiencing such a drill will ever encounter a real gunman in their school, pretty much zero. The chance that if they do anything from that drill experience will help, pretty much zero on top of zero.)

Administrators at Eastern Wayne Middle School later sent parents a letter explaining that they sent a masked gunman to various sixth-grade classrooms as an “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.”

It’s unclear exactly what good-citizenship lesson the kids were supposed to learn — “sphincter control,” perhaps — but it’s a lucky thing none of the kids tried anything heroic, like disarming the gunman, because any student who did that would surely be kicked out of school.

.....Last March, that’s exactly what happened to a Florida high school boy after hedisarmed a fellow student who was aiming a loaded weapon at a third classmate. School spokesmen justified the hero kid’s suspension because,  “If there is a potentially dangerous situation, Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing.”

See? The school was only trying to avoid harm from a potentially dangerous situation, and when you’re in charge of guiding impressionable youth, it makes perfect sense to teach them “Never stop a gunman from shooting his intended victim, lest you create a potentially dangerous situation.”

More and more American schools honestly believe “fear for their lives” (without trying to defend themselves, because danger) is a perfectly cromulent lesson to teach kids. 

I blogged about one such drill in Oregon, back in May. Jesse Walker from March on "5 Ridiculous School Security Scares." Government: we will create the crisis that we cannot solve, and we will get paid for it.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If they do it on or around October 31, the kids can consider it a kind of haunted house experience that they can treasure in their nightmares for years to come.

  • playa manhattan||

    At least they're keeping the bar low. I guess it's easier to terrorize 6th graders than high schoolers.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    The don't want the cops to look bad when the high schoolers kick their asses.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It’s unclear exactly what good-citizenship lesson the kids were supposed to learn — “sphincter control,” perhaps — but it’s a lucky thing none of the kids tried anything heroic, like disarming the gunman, because any student who did that would surely be kicked out of school.

    I know a lot of kids who would try this. I would have when I was in school. Problem being also that I would shoot them with their own guns, and if the weapon failed to fire, beat them at least unconscious.
    Or does anyone being attacked with a gun take it well?

  • playa manhattan||

    Is the author the same Jennifer Abel who comments here?

  • playa manhattan||

    Upon further investigation, yes it is. Nice work.

  • SIV||

    Thankfully, she doesn't comment here anymore.

  • Zeb||

    But you still do, so it's a wash really.

  • SugarFree||

    There's a hilarious scenario playing out in my imagination where they pull this on a classroom and all the kids pull out guns and riddle the "gunman" with bullets.

  • Andrew S.||

    Given this line from the linked Anorak article:

    Like hell there’s no excuse—as a school district official explained, “It’s an active shooter drill. We do this every now and then. If you warn too many people, then the simulation is not effective.”

    I can only guess that the next evolution will be to actually set the school on fire before a fire drill; after all, if the kids know there's not really a fire, how can the simulation be effective?

  • Mensan||

    It can also create a crying wolf type of situation. Although the odds of it happening approach zero, if at some point in the future these kids encounter an actual gunman, they are more likely to react poorly because they may think it's just another drill.

    Case in point: my hospital has fire drills about once every week or two. They are annoying and disruptive to patients and employees. Last week we had a real fire. Guess what happened; most people ignored the alarm and kept on working.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, when I hear a fire alarm, I don't think "oh, no, maybe there's a fire. I assume it is a malfunctioning system or a drill.
    Car alarms are the same. You hear them go off so often for no good reason that no one will ever do anything about it in the .01% of cases where a car is actually being broken into.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Same as the Terror threat level announcements at airports. Nobody cares except those wanting a little satire while waiting around.

  • Andrew S.||

    (I really need an edit button for when I have a thought right after I hit Submit)

    This bullcrap is why, despite a complete inability to afford it, I'm going to an open house at a private school this week, in the hope that between now and next Fall I figure out a way to pay for it. Probably can't, but dammit I need to try.

  • JW||

    Parents should organize and execute the same drill on school administrators. Unfortunately, there would be very few survivors, once the police arrived.

  • JW||

    We are ruled by idiots.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Masked gunmen showing up at school board meetings would be an appropriate response.

  • Apple||

    My daughter's school has "bad guy" drills. They don't send in fake gunmen, but the kids pretend there's a bad guy and they hide in their classroom and try to be as quiet as they can. These are elementary school kids, K to 5th grade.

  • WTF||

    Because being immobile waiting to be shot is the best response. How about everybody fucking run like hell in all directions?

  • the other other alan||

    My kids' private school has similar drills, but unlike the 'masked gunman' drills described above, I think these are pretty useful. Having a thousand kids screaming through the halls makes for much a easier target for a deranged gunman, compared to all the kids gathering in one corner of the their classroom, out of the line of site from the doorway, which the teacher locks before joining the kids. Having to shoot open every door to see if anyone is inside would definitely slow down the perpetrator, which is really the main goal until help arrives.

  • Spoonman.||

    This is what we had to do when my high school got robbed.

    That really makes it sound like I grew up in the ghetto, but if you're familiar with Dallas, it was Highland Park High School, which make it getting robbed pretty hilarious.

  • playa manhattan||

    What were the robbers trying to take?

  • Spoonman.||

    The dude robbed the bookroom - he stole the money collecting from kids who had damaged textbooks.

    He got away, too.

  • Apple||

    I am. I was actually zoned for Highland Park but my dad made me go to Jesuit.

  • Robert||

    When I was in school, that's what we were supposed to do ordinarily, in the regular course of classroom instruction!

    They'd never pull this fake gunman thing in a school in a bad area, because they'd know there'd be a good chance one or more of the students would pull out guns & plug them. In other words, they'd never do this drill in an area where there really was a chance it'd simulate a real life situation' they're doing it only in nice areas where they can totally terrify the kids for yuks.

  • ||

    I was taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
    No man with an automatic rifle is scarier than a nun in full habit.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "You've returned as two thieves with dirty mouths and bad attitudes."

    THWACK! THWACK!

  • Loki||

    it’s a lucky thing none of the kids tried anything heroic, like disarming the gunman, because any student who did that would surely be kicked out of school.

    .....Last March, that’s exactly what happened to a Florida high school boy after hedisarmed a fellow student

    They have to teach kids that the proper response to these kinds of things isn't to defend themselves, it's to shit their pants, hide, and rely on the benevelonce of the all powerful state to come and save their worthless asses. IOW, they're just making sure that they grow up to be good little proggie shitheels.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Self defense implies self-ownership.

    That's unmutual.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Jennifer's always awesome.

  • Mensan||

    It's not just schools. My hospital had an active shooter drill last week. Beforehand, they mandated that every employee had to watch this video, and complete an online training class on how to run away from a gunman.

  • SweatingGin||

    Gah, sooner or later some fake shooter is going to get capped by a CCW'er. What a fucking mess that will be.

    "This is why only police should have guns! So they can run around pretending to shoot people! You need to learn to submit to shooters!"

  • Paul.||

    Why does the woman in the maroon top need to be pulled and shoved around by the other woman in the dark outfit?

    And the active shooter looks like a cop. Nice.

  • Mensan||

    "And the active shooter looks like a cop. Nice."

    I'm pretty sure you're more likely to get shot by a cop than by a random non-badge-wearing psychopath, so that seems appropriate.

  • Virginian||

    Cops are twice as likely to shoot someone as a CCW permit holder.

  • Paul.||

    Only twice?

  • Paul.||

    And why are the cops wearing jungle camo?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It says the cops' role is not to evacuate the building or tend to the wounded, but to take out the shooter.

    I guess that's the Lesson of Columbine - don't stand around munching donuts - earn your pay, risk your life, and deal with the shooter.

  • Paul.||

    “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.”

    I don't know what the fuss is all about. I think it shows people just how helpless they are in a gun-free zone.

  • Paul.||

    “Never stop a gunman from shooting his intended victim, lest you create a potentially dangerous situation.”

    Oh, by the way, this plays right into my theory of modern American Self Defense Law:

    The criminal, once engaged in the act has the right to continue the act unmolested by the victim or witnesses, or until licensed law enforcement arrives.

  • Aresen||

    “Never stop a gunman from shooting his intended victim, lest you create a potentially dangerous situation.”

    That is so sick it is almost funny. It sounds like something Groucho Marx would say.

  • Rich||

    The chance that anyone experiencing such a drill will ever encounter a real gunman in their school, pretty much zero.

    It'll be amusing when some savvy little kid destroys the "gunman"'s testicles with multiple kicks.

  • ||

    And, of course, there's a school shooting today http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new.....chool?lite

  • Virginian||

    Quick give this nutjob wall to wall 24/7 media coverage so the next suicidal loser will know what kind of notoriety he can achieve if he just takes a gun into a gun free zone (right past the magic sign of gunfreeness).

  • Paul.||

  • paranoid android||

    You know, I'm not saying that public schools are a conspiracy to inculcate children with a fear that the entire world is out to harm them while simultaneously enforcing the notion that only state-approved authority figures can protect them and that self-reliance is useless, I'm just saying that if they are, how would we tell the difference?

  • Killazontherun||

    Remember that time after Cartman made that girl shit her pants by spiking brownies with Ex-Lax, we then spiked the pizza so all the kids were shit their pants so no one would feel bad? That went so well, you know what else we should do? Have a cop gun in disguised as a masked gun man and pretend he is going to massacre the kids. So awesome, we're just awesome.

  • Killazontherun||

    kids were would shit their pants so no one would feel bad?

    In the middle of a caffeine withdrawal headache. Nothing but decaf left over from last week.

  • Killazontherun||

    have a cop guncome in disguised as a masked gun man and pretend he is going to massacre the kids.

    Plus, I just suck.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They used to do something like this in some evangelical private schools. Suddenly, a bunch of official looking people would take over your school at gunpoint and announce that you were all being arrested for studying the Bible. It was a hoax, of course, but they were trying to get into kids' heads what it would be like at the end of time.

    I wonder if that was any inspiration.

  • Aresen||

    Isn't "Cower and Obey" the same instruction they gave airplane passengers for hijack situations pre-9/11?

  • Rrabbit||

    I think they should be charged with something serious like assault with a deadly weapon, one count for each kid.

  • Aresen||

    *snort*

    Laws are for little people, not the boss class.

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