Free-Range Kids

Worst School Shooting Drill Ever Featured Actual Hooded Assailant

Terrified kids huddled together



From Wyoming's comes possibly the dumbest school shooting drill I've ever heard of:

Aubrey Truman was swinging on the playground at Worland's East Side Elementary School about 10 a.m. Thursday when she received the scare of her life.

A man in a hooded sweatshirt with a suspicious backpack appeared in the back of the playground. The hood was pulled over his head.

The school's gym teacher, Kevin Heyer, approached the man, tapped him on the shoulder and asked his name.

Heyer said the man took off running.

At that point, Heyer, who will be retiring from the district this year at 61, began blowing his whistle. But he had been briefed earlier in the week, and he figured it was a drill.

"Run! Run!" he said he shouted to the kids, pointing to the back field, opposite of the supposed intruder.

But Aubrey recalled him screaming something else.

"He's got a gun! He's got a gun!" she thought he said.

Heyer denies saying "gun."

Another student, Kaydence Munoz, age 9, told her mom that she didn't hear the word "gun" come out the gym teacher's mouth, either. She did hear it from other students, though.

Nonetheless, Aubrey and her fellow students, from first through fifth grade, ran to the back field of the playground, where they huddled and tried to make sense of what was happening.

Aubrey began to shake. She was terrified. "Am I going to die?" she thought. "Will I ever see my parent's again?"

Read the rest here. Aubrey did see her folks again, and her mom—along with many other parents—was revolted by the pointless terror. As another angry mom pointed out: If this was really supposed to teach kids a lesson, why teach them to huddle en masse in an open field? Doesn't that make them easy targets?

The idea that students need a drill this realistic doesn't make any sense. We don't set the bathroom on fire before a fire drill. This is just adults acting out some sick hero fantasy—and making kids very miserable in the process.

NEXT: Charles Paul Freund on the Alleged Objectivist Theme of Tomorrowland

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  1. They’re acting out a sick fantasy alright. I’m not sure it’s a hero fantasy though.

  2. Another student, Kaydence Munoz, age 9, told her mom that she didn’t hear the word “gun” come out the gym teacher’s mouth, either. She did hear it from other students, though.

    If I remember how Chinese whispers is played, at the end Dick Cheney invades Worland based on the final student’s claim of an intruder brandishing yellowcake uranium.

    1. It was a mellow fake Albanian!

      1. It was our baked fellow Alamian!

        (in the kitchen, with the lead pipe)

  3. What is this pretend gunman’s home address? I’m sure he could use a B&E drills performed at random during the night.

  4. Kaydence????? KAYDENCE????

    (Yuppie soccer mom names with stupid misspellings drive me up a fricken wall)

    1. I’ll see your Kaydence and raise you an Ikia and an astoundingly large number of Latrinas in the innercities of the Eastern Seaboard.

      1. Kaydence doesn’t seem yuppie soccer mom-ish to me. It screams “I got impregnated at 2006 Gathering of the Juggalos“. Though I do recognize it’s resemblance to the Aidan, Caiden, Hayden, Kayden, Rayden axis.

      2. Those don’t give me a rage boner like the Kenadies and Makinlys of the world.

        1. No hate for Skylar and Mason? Oh and when I was a young adult, Megan and McKenzie were a big ones. Now I notice adult women interviewed as experts on NPR are named Megan or McKenzie. And they still sound like teenagers.

          1. What do you mean? They sound like teenagers? People of all ages? Talk just like this?

    2. If that’s her name, then it isn’t a misspelling.

      I’m all for made up names. Though I do get annoyed by trendy names sometimes. If you are going to use a non-traditional name, at least come up with something different.

      1. All names are made up.

      2. I wanted to name one of my kids Bloodstorm, but the husband wouldn’t go for it.

        1. too ripe for parody. “Floodstorm”, “Bloodworm”, the list practically goes on forever.

          1. I was thinking, peri-natal, I would’ve avoided names like ‘Loinsplitter’ and ‘Bloodstorm’ too.

            I’d hate to be lining up for dodgeball or be on the football team with a name like that unless they were literal descriptors of my emergence into this world as a 6′ 5″, 285 lb. monster.

      3. Really? Even stuff like Nevaeh? Because that makes me Hulk rage.

    3. Agreed. This is a two-fer, in that it’s spelled wrong AND the original word makes no sense as a name anyway. Why not “Ella Cueshun” or “Dickshun” or “Annunceeayshun.” They make as much sense as Kaydence/cadence.

      1. Not a My Little Pony fan? The main character in the episode “A Canterlot Wedding” is Princess Miamore Cadenza also called Cadence.

      2. “Annunceeayshun.”

        *Must* you drag religion into it?

        1. The Holy Church of the Enunciation is a small but vibrant sect, known for its apparent lack of Internet presence…

        2. Sorry, I meant “Eenunceeayshun” there. Apologies to anyone I may have micro-aggressed against. (Side note: Is that the correct verb form of microaggression? Have the progs come to a consensus on this yet?)

          1. *micro* aggression is the only aggression of which progs are capable, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

    1. Ready for Hillary?

    2. Get it out now, dismiss it as old news when people are paying attention later.

  5. You mean BEST school shooting drill ever

    1. There wasn’t even any brandishing. Weak tea, if you ask me. I want a surprise drill where firearm-wielding actors make school teachers piss themselves.

      1. Don’t needed a gun for that. Just say the word “thanksgiving” instead of “harvest festival”.

  6. In a just world a 61-year-old gym teacher and the administrators who put him up to this would be huddled together at the back of the field seeking cover from angry, shit-flinging townspeople.

    1. In a just world the 61 year old gym teacher is armed and shoots the intruder.

  7. Wait wait wait, worst? They mean most awesome, right?

  8. At this point, I would like to relate how idiotic Reason’s “free range kids” icon is. Once that goldfish leaves the bowl, it’s going to suffocate. Or is Bailey’s antinatalism part of the concept?

    1. I think a leopard jumping out of a cage should be the new logo. Then it goes on to terrorize and Indian village.

      1. That was the coolest leopard ever.

        1. I have to admit, I like seeing animals own people.

      2. “Its like Meow-shwitz in there.”

    2. That was made by a graphic artist who, I’m told, can’t get that job without a college degree.

    3. I hadn’t given it much thought, but you are right. What the hell is that supposed to mean?

      I do like the posts, though.

      1. Agreed.

        What of a logo showing a stick figure kid snipping his/her child leash with a pair of adult/non-safety scissors?

        1. Yes, this would work.

    4. Maybe the point is that the kids are *treated* like goldfish? I dunno.

    5. How about this for the new free range kids mascot…..68×414.jpg

  9. Telling the kids to huddle together in a field does seem incredibly stupid. Shouldn’t they be instructed to scatter and get as far from the school as possible? At least make the targets small and spread out.

    1. And serpentine, does no one serpentine anymore?

      1. You’re dating yourself Paul. The Millenials have no idea what that is.

        1. Oops forgot the link.

    2. Yes, scatter, seek cover, use your pocket knives to sharpen sticks and play dead to draw the shooter in.

      At least, that’s what eight year old me would have tried.

      1. First GradeBlood

    3. Telling the kids to huddle together in a field does seem incredibly stupid. Shouldn’t they be instructed to scatter and get as far from the school as possible?

      I like to think of it as a ‘Safety Barrel’. Once the kids are all huddled inside together, everyone is safe, like fish in a barrel.

  10. The comparison to fire drills is a good point. A real fire in a school could be pretty terrifying, just like a real shooter in a school would be. But we don’t try to terrorize the kids with actual fire. Isn’t the idea of drills to get people into the habit of calmly evacuating or taking shelter, so that if/when they need to do it for real, they do it efficiently and automatically? I some how doubt that traumatizing people helps in this regard.

  11. This stuff will continue until either either one of these happens:

    (a) kindly Mrs. Morwitz forgets about the drill (or isn’t warned) and has a fatal attack when she sees the “intruder”


    (b) Elmer the custodian, who wasn’t important enough to be warned about the drill, happens to be packing and shoots the fake-gunman.

    1. This. Wyoming is one of two or three states where it’s legitimately a longstanding cultural thing for people to go around with guns all day. The “shooter” is damn lucky no armed citizen was nearby and noticed the commotion…

      1. Except Wyoming has “gun free” school zones. One of the few places you can go in Wyoming where you can massacre dozens before the cops come and shoot you. Even the Starbucks in WY have relented. Bills have come up in the legislature, but they haven’t passed yet.

        The two cops arrived smiling. Why? Somehow the police labeled it a success, but there would have been dozens of dead children had it been real. The coach, or armed teachers (neighbors, visiting parents) if armed would have stopped the man literally dead in his tracks.

    2. (c) The O’Doyles or other ‘socially maladjusted’ students catch on or otherwise aren’t intimidated and decide to capitalize on the situation.

      Broodlings No.1 and No.2 aren’t formidable individually but have already developed some pretty effective team tactics. When they get bigger and loathe authority, I would expect B.S. like this to end poorly. Plenty of students where I went to school, one way or another, wouldn’t have tolerated ‘mock authority’ like this.

  12. “Am I going to die?” she thought. “Will I ever see my parent’s again?”

    Perhaps if they didn’t waste time on drills like this, their local reporters could learn when to use apostrophes.

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  14. Another good article, Lenore, but I disagree with your language in the last two paragraphs. These drills are not pointless. Their point is to scare children, and to prepare them for life in a police state. The lockdowns, security checks, metal detectors, tracking chips in identification cards, invasions by SWAT teams with weapons, drills so realistic they make children shake, zero tolerance for every imaginable pill and plastic toy that’s deemed a hazard, calling the police for minor infractions of a multitude of detailed rules, admonishments, regimentation: all of these create the idea that the world is dangerous, and that people in authority can meet these these dangers if you let take and keep control.

    One can criticize the idea that making children huddle en masse in an open field is a bad idea if you want to protect them from a gunman, but actual safety is not the point. Creating an atmosphere where you are constantly on edge is the point. Making edgy, scared youngsters accustomed to accepting orders from authorities in the security state is the point. Few people think the treatment they receive at border control checkpoints actually keeps them safe. The checkpoints sure remind you who is in charge, though.

  15. Part II:

    The measures listed above, which create an atmosphere of fear and control in our schools, come from articles in Reason. You cite many of them in your Free-Range Kids series. You show how state and community efforts to keep children safe from imagined dangers is a bad tradeoff, because parents and children lose so much freedom as a result. I hesitate to say that some mastermind in the school bureaucracy plans all these security measures with the aim of obedience to state security in mind. I’ll say this much: we have lived with these security measures – and the atmosphere they create in our schools – long enough to know the outcomes we seek and the tradeoffs involved. These are not benign measures, and we know it.

    So we should not misunderstand what is happening in our neighborhood schools. The unannounced, realistic terror drills that make little children shake with fear do not find justification because they prepare us to deal with random gunmen who roam our neighborhoods. They do seem to make some administrators in schools *feel* safe. I will guess that school administrators do not create these drills themselves, nor do they request that people dressed to look like gunmen come to visit their schools. My guess is that the idea for these drills originates with the state security apparatus outside the schools. The school principals I know would never visit these horrors on the children they lead.

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