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Indiana teachers hurt by Airsoft guns used in active shooter drill say sheriffs went too far

"The training was meant to be realistic — to show what happens if you don't act," White County Sheriff Bill Brooks said.
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An Indiana teachers union is demanding change to active shooter drill protocols after teachers at an elementary school reported that they had been injured when they were shot by Airsoft guns during a recent exercise.

"During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles — resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn," a statement from the Indiana State Teachers Association on Wednesday said.

Association members said they were injured during the drill at Monticello’s Meadowlawn Elementary School, according to the statement.

The drill was conducted by the White County Sheriff's Department, which defended the methods it used. White County Sheriff Bill Brooks said participation was voluntary, and teachers were shown beforehand what the drill would entail.

"The training was meant to be realistic — to show what happens if you don't act," he said.

But the Indiana State Teachers Association said while it supports the practices that will keep teachers and students safe, it thinks the drill at Meadowlawn went too far.

"No one in education takes these drills lightly. The risk of harming someone far outweighs whatever added realism one is trying to convey here," said the association's statement, calling for an amendment to a school safety bill "so that more reasonable limits are placed on these drills."

Image: Meadowlawn Elementary
Meadowlawn Elementary staff receive training from The White County sheriffs department.Meadowlawn Elementary School via Facebook

During a hearing regarding that bill Wednesday, Indiana House of Representatives Rep. Wendy McNamara acknowledged that using Airsoft guns wasn't appropriate during a school shooter drill.

"I don't believe that something like that should take place in an active shooter drill," she said. "I think we have teachers under enough stress that if we're going to be doing an active shooter drill, it should not be one in which the teachers become unwilling participants or targets."

Michael Galvin, the superintendent of the Twin Lakes School Corporation, to which Meadowlawn belongs, said in a statement that the district had coordinated a meeting between the local teachers union, Twin Lakes Classroom Teachers Organization, and the White County Sheriff's Office to further discuss the best way to hold active shooter drills.