Free-Range Kids

Kids Terrified As Cops Enter School With Guns Drawn—But It Was a Practice Drill


Scared girl
Fox 13

Students at Jewett Middle Academy in Winter Haven, Florida, dove under their desks and texted their parents in terror when armed police swarmed into the school, brandishing their weapons. The cops had neglected to warn the teachers and kids that there was no emergency: they were in the midst of an active shooter drill. According to Fox 13 News in Tampa Bay:

Lauren Marionneaux, a seventh-grade student at Jewett Middle Academy, said it was about 9 a.m. Thursday when the principal announced the school was going on lockdown.

Students huddled into classrooms waiting for further instructions. Instead, they started hearing voices in the hallway.

"A lot of people started getting scared because we thought it was a real drill," Lauren said. "We actually thought that someone was going to come in there and kill us."

Two police officers burst into Lauren's classroom with their guns drawn—one carrying, what Winter Haven police said, was an AR-15 rifle.

Just doing their job… they said. After the mayhem, the school released a statement explaining that police drills like this are considered the best possible way to really test preparedness: "Parents, students and staff are typically not notified about lockdown drills. For example, we do not give advanced notice of fire drills in order to evaluate how safety procedures work…"

Of course, the authorities neglected to notice that no one sets the school on fire to create more realistic fire drills. Nor do they drag in giant wind machines to replicate the feel of an impending tornado.


The fear that teachers might suffer heart attacks, that kids might experience psychotic breakdowns, that someone with his own weapon might shoot real bullets in defense—none of that seemed to occur to our peacekeepers. Nor did the notion that distraught parents might race frantically to the school, endangering anyone in their path.

No, these cops were so focused on the most horrific, least likely crime that nothing else mattered.

But now it does. In response to the apparently bewildering blowback, the Winter Haven police say they have re-evaluated their M.O. and now plan to practice lockdowns without weapons.

No word on whether they'll play audio tapes of gunshot sounds, ambulances, and bloodcurdling screams.

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  1. I thought police active-shooter drills involved standing around outside and munching on donuts while waiting for the shooter to get tired or commit suicide.

    1. “OK, men, in this drill we compare the merits of Bostone Kreme donuts and powdered donuts.”

    2. Or wait for the shooter to run out of ammunition after they finish off the human shields. Er, I mean, the civilians safely sheltering in place.

    3. No. When they do the drill, it’s full on Call of Duty kick ass and take names, since there is no threat of getting hurt. If there is an actual shooter, they stand around and order donuts.


      1. A well-earned LOL, sir.

    4. No, that would be a “realistic” drill. No fun in that.

      This was a machismo fueled fantasy drill.

    5. They wait until the shooter reloads.

    6. You’re ignoring the obvious benefit of these drills and other post-Columbine innovations in emergency response, namely that police will arrive on scene within minutes, then stand around determining how to get into the building without running headlong into a hail of bullets.

      The hope seems to be that the shooter offs himself as soon as he hears sirens, or perhaps slips on the floor and hits his head in attempting to scamper away from the sorts of psychos who stage a guns-drawn active-shooter drill in a building full of preteens.

  2. This is some stupid shit – but guns don’t actually “blaze” unless they are being fired.

    1. That’s my understanding, too. Sloppy headlining like this doesn’t help with the hysteria. This long-time subscriber suggests that the staff had better think harder.

    2. Yeah. I think the headline writers must take an oath that they have not read the underlying article, just like the guys who do book cover art.

    3. What if the cops painted little flames on the side? Might make it look cooler and frighten those damned terrorists into total submission. We should have some top men look into that.

  3. These are important lessons. Who gives a shit if they can add two and two?

  4. Well? How did they score being scared?

  5. If you’ve done nothing wrong…

    …we’ll still scare the shit out of you.

  6. The fear that teachers might suffer heart attacks, that kids might experience psychotic breakdowns, that someone with his own weapon might shoot real bullets in defense?none of that seemed to occur to our peacekeepers.

    I’d say the single most likely adverse outcome would be if some jumped up retard with poor trigger discipline flinched off a round resulting in a barrage of panic fire.

  7. “police said, was an Ar-15 Rifle.”

    Don’t they mean a Fully Automatic, High Capacity, Death Spewing, Child Slaughtering Assault Rifle. Or are they only the above when in the hands of a private citizen?

    1. Actually, from the initial reports, it was a fully-automatic rapid-fire high-powered military-style folding-stock silenced flash-suppressed 9mm 12-gauge Assault Glock AK-15 shotgun rifle.

      With the shoulder thing that goes up, a bayonet, a compass in the stock, and this thing that tells time.

      Loaded with high-capacity magazine banana clips full of Teflon ‘cop-killer’ bullet cartridges.

      With the optional double-barreled over/under 40mm grenade launcher AND the flame-thrower.

      And, it was BLACK (possibly ‘WHITE-Black’), and in the 40 megawatt range.

      I think CNN confirmed this…

      1. “a compass in the stock” LOL

      2. Hey, at least it wasn’t a Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 Megawatt range

  8. my co-worker’s ex-wife makes $79 /hr on the internet . She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her check was $14145 just working on the internet for a few hours. go……


  9. Another lesson for the sheep and the children.How about doing these drills on Times square,or capital hill?

  10. Just a bit of preemptive social engineering. The sooner the state can create the reaction of cowering in fear while waiting for our benevolent hero cops to rush in and save the day, the better.

    Instill fear, check.
    Instill reliance based on fear, check.
    That is the goal of such an exercise, not safety.

    1. Alas, I fear this is actually true. But GOOD INTENTIONS!!!!

    2. Yep. A trial baloon to see if the sheeple would take it. Thanks, soccer moms.

  11. “the authorities neglected to notice that no one sets the school on fire to create more realistic fire drills”

    Every public school administrator in the country just got an AWESOME idea.

    1. Every public school administrator in the country just got an AWESOME idea.

      Think of the construction jobs this would create. Paul Krugman would bust a nut that could put out a four-alarmer fantasizing about that kind of stimulus.

  12. The fear that teachers might suffer heart attacks, that kids might experience psychotic breakdowns[…] none of that seemed to occur to our peacekeepers

    …perhaps because it is handwringing? Life does not come with advance warning; if the mere presence of armed men causes this level of panic then what hope do these teachers have of surviving an actual assault or serious physical threat? Not to say that the police showed wisdom in this scenario, but let’s get real.

    1. The point is that actual shootings are so rare (and don’t involve the police until the damage is done), that having a drill is pointless.

      This would be like having a pilot dive the plane toward the ground for a few moments to remind airline passengers about the importance of bracing for impact.

    2. In the once-in-10,000-years instance that a shooter burst into this school, now the teachers will have a single event with which to prepare their emotions.

      The police were doing them a favor, really.

  13. Other articles indicated that the cops personal weapons were loaded “in accordance with policy”. I presume the AR-15s were not, but with the morons who run law enforcement, I don’t have confidence in that fact. They should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment and, if any Citizen was swept with a muzzle, for assault with a deadly weapon. The police chief should be summarily fired for insanity. Neither the teachers nor the students consented to this fiasco.

    These mopes are not well enough trained to be doing drills like this, and the inclusion of teachers and students into the mix is unnecessary, inexcusable, and counterproductive to good training. If you want “victims” you use “tame victims” who are directed to act in certain ways, so you can train for particular reactions. You control training, you don’t just launch it on the citizenry.

    1. I think they should have brought the school mascot in so they could first shoot it. For the sake of the children.

    2. This! While I grant that the odds of any one of these “law enforcement officers” actually having to engage in a school hostage are infinitesimal, at least if you’re going to do this, do it without civilians. In our area, Fire departments practice victim rescue and firefighting on specially designed facilities. Why in the hell would anyone think it’s a good idea to use civilians in this “training exercise?” If they are going to do this training, build a facility and use “tame victims,” rather than risk the possibility of a bad outcome.

  14. Your headline (“Guns Blazing”) suggests that the police were firing their guns (blanks, presumably). The story doesn’t mention any shots being fired. Still a ridiculous drill, however.

    1. I think the headline read, “Guns Drawn,” not “Blazing.”

  15. Our children are like precious little eggs that will someday hatch into petrified taxpaying citizens. And remember, to make the American omelet of freedom, sometimes you just have to break a few eggs.

    1. It usually suffices to threaten to break them. That way the eggs will work harder to pay your pension when you retire at 48. Egg survives, you kick around for 30 years on the public’s dime.


  16. my buddy’s step-sister makes $72 /hr on the computer . She has been without a job for ten months but last month her paycheck was $17405 just working on the computer for a few hours.visit this site….


    1. Reason doesn’t feature flagging for spam, nor even downranking for spam, so by all means, spam, spam, SPAM away!

  17. This reminds me of our local sheriffs department recently got one of those stupid MRAP things and they used the possible school shooter as an excuse. My only thought was most school shooters are inside the building and thus eliminating the ability to actually use the thing unless they plan to drive down the too narrow hallways and to low of ceilings thus damaging the entire building and probably getting stuck between the CMU walls, lucky for them the door is in back of the MRAP

  18. What’s the difference between lockdown and the non-open campus which is what most hellholes/highschools are nowadays?

    I remember when my high school switched from lunch periods where you could leave and come back in time for your next class, and the “you must stay in the building for lunch” policy. The chicken place across the street went out of business weeks later and the deli in the other direction cut staff.

    I find it inhumane policy that children are forced to remain INSIDE a building where a known shooter is present. Apparently the police are too incompetent to catch criminals without inconvenience, increased violence and body count be damned.

  19. The day, probably about 20 years ago, it became chic and vogue to place all of these cops in schools was pure insanity. There never was, nor is there now, any need to have someone with powers of arrest constantly on-site in our schools.

    And as for these “drills”, they’re doing their best to get you to forget the cowardice they exhibited at Columbine.

  20. My buddy’s step-aunt makes $89 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for 8 months but last month her check was $14034 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out here. ????

  21. My buddy’s step-aunt makes $89 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for 8 months but last month her check was $14034 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out here. ????

  22. Evil and stupidity have become hallmarks of our perverted and degraded western civilization. That, however, is not to indicate that I’m without confidence in the coming super-intelligences to self-correct our errant ways.

  23. If my school district did this to me and I had no clue it was a drill and not a real incident, there is a huge possibility of misunderstandings.

    As soon as I see my classroom door opening and a gun barrel coming through, the person is getting hit in the face with a baseball bat.

    1. Or a full cup of hot coffee. Heck I once fended off an attacker with a rather large Calculus textbook that I was carrying. Don’t let any one tell you that Calculus isn’t useful in the real world.

  24. Lenore….Are you taking over for Ed for misdirecting the reader in an attempt to inflame the stupid?
    While the police had absolutely no business performing a drill with students and uninformed teachers present, the fact that they were uninformed would lie with the principal of the school. As the father of 4 children, I would have been incensed to know this was going on. However, my anger would have been directed at both the Police department and school. Your attempt to put blame for this ridiculous stupidity wholly on the police department is typical Krayewski writing. I hope you can do better.

    1. Did you last handle get banned so quickly?

  25. I am irritated with Reason Mag. In a recent article they talk about how police entered a school with guns a blazing and children diving under their desks, texting their parents in fear. **** o__o ****. First of all I have taken place in many active shooter drills. These things happen in direct coordination with school officials and are not done during school hours. If this particular school allowed the drill to take place during school hours, for whatever reason, shouldn’t we looking at school admin for explanation and not just spinning it off as some anti “I cannot believe they could do such a thing” police issue. I know many officers out there don’t make the right decision or are flat out corrupt, but there are so many more of us that are not. Reason seems to be increasing their anti-police rhetoric. There are enough bad police stories out there. IDK. Sometimes I feel as if I am in the wrong crowd…

    And I highly doubt that they had their weapons loaded during a drill with a school full of kids, but I have never been one to doubt the stupidity of man.

    David Patterson
    2014 Libertarian Candidate for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race and police corporal with the Harrodsburg Police Department in Harrodsburg Kentucky

    1. David….Thank you for running for office in KY. Very nice campaign with a lot of great arguments. Of course, that’s the libertarian way.
      Don’t get down about feeling that you are in the wrong crowd. Be proud that you are representing yourself as both a libertarian and law enforcement officer. Be strong in your beliefs. As a retired City police officer now working on a large college campus, I take every opportunity I get to explain the libertarian principles to the next generation. You are taking a different road into politics but we are both working on changing hearts and minds. The Krayewski crowd (those idiots that believe everything they see) are not what define the libertarian party.

    2. If you’re arguing that we should blame the school as much as the idiotic police who intimidated a school full of children, then I agree. I’d even campaign for you.

      If you’re saying that we should forgive the police and redirect the outrage to the school, you’re part of the problem and a good reason why many small-l libertarians aren’t big-L Libertarians.

      This is obviously a bad-police story, David. The only question you raise is whether it’s also a bad-school story.

  26. my classmate’s step-mother makes $76 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay check was $21931 just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit the website….


  27. This smells a lot lot terrorism…

  28. Do. NOT. Send your kids to public schools. This is disgusting and abusive.

  29. “No, these cops were so focused on the most horrific, least likely crime that nothing else mattered.”

    Bullshit. They were focused on their Rambo fantasies.

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