Several teachers at an Indiana elementary school were injured after they were told to kneel and then shot with plastic pellets “execution style” during an active-shooter drill, according to the Indiana State Teachers Association.
The association said law enforcement members led teachers from Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Ind. into a room, four at a time, and ordered them to crouch down during the training session back in January.
“[They] were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles – resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn,” ISTA tweeted on Wednesday about the event.
Dan Holub, the association’s executive director, said it was “tragic” that teachers were put in this position.
“The teachers are there they don't know this is coming and all of a sudden they're being asked to turn around and they're shot at. It's just craziness,” he told local station CBS4 on Thursday.
ISTA said some of their members who were injured during the drill described their experience to the Senate Education Committee as part of their recommendation for an amendment to a school safety bill on Wednesday.
“The teachers were terrified, but were told not to tell anyone what happened. Teachers waiting outside that heard the screaming were brought into the room four at a time and the shooting process was repeated,” the association tweeted.
The training was conducted as part of ALICE training, a program designed to help schools or other organizations prepare for active shooting situations.
“It saddens me that we live in a day and age when you have to have this sort of training in the schools to begin with,” Holub said.
The school district said in a statement that it would continue to work with the White County Sheriff’s Office, which led the training at Meadowlawn Elementary School.
The sheriff told the Indianapolis Star they will no longer use airsoft guns – replica weapons that shoot non-metallic projectiles – during active shooter drills. Holub, however, said the teachers association is still looking for an explanation from law enforcement as to why this method was even used in the first place.
To ensure teachers and staff aren’t injured in future training sessions, ISTA asked the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday to amend House Bill 1004 to place “reasonable limits” on these drills.
“Educators should never have to endure being fired at with pellets in an active shooter training,” ISTA Vice President Keith Gambill said in a statement. “ISTA is fighting to make sure no other educators in Indiana face the kind of fear-based, injurious training again. ISTA is asking for a simple amendment that would prohibit a school or district from conducting or authorizing an active-shooter drill where any school employee or student may have any type of projectile fired at their person.”
Republican Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who sponsored the bill, appeared to be open to amending the bill. She said she doesn’t believe “something like that should take place in an active-shooter drill.”
With files from The Associated Press