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Oregon School Holds Unannounced ‘Shooting Drill’

From The Oregonian:

Gunfire and moments of fear as a rural Oregon school tests its readiness

By Richard Cockle | April 29, 2013

HALFWAY — Two masked men wearing hoodies and wielding handguns burst into the Pine Eagle Charter School in this tiny rural community on Friday. Students were at home for an in-service day, so the gunmen headed into a meeting room full of teachers and opened fire.

Someone figured out in a few seconds that the bullets were not drawing blood because they were blanks and the exercise was a drill, designed to test Pine Eagle’s preparation for an assault by "active shooters" who were, in reality, members of the school staff. But those few seconds left everybody plenty scared.

This just shows how all of the hysteria about guns is getting to be really dangerous. This school is lucky no one had a heart attack. They are also lucky nobody else was armed and shot back at the fake shooters.

Of course, another surprising thing about this staged attack is that the school didn’t portray the attackers as fundamentalist Christians or right-wingers or Tea Party supporters.

Principal Cammie [sic] DeCastro said it became clear very quickly just how many of the school’s 15 teachers would have survived. The answer: "Not many," she said.

Elementary teacher Morgan Gover, 31, said only two teachers would have lived to tell the tale. She admitted being scared, and also acknowledged she would have been among the casualties, having taken several fake direct hits from the shooters. "I’ll tell you, the whole situation was horrible," she said. "I got a couple in the front and a couple in the back."

What a valuable lesson was taught, then.

The surprised staff had received training from the Union County Sheriff’s Office on active shooter scenarios. They had been told they had some options, such as not rushing out of their classrooms when gunfire erupted, and locking and barricading their doors.

They weren’t expecting a drill like this, and they were caught by surprise when the two men entered and began firing.

"There was some commotion," DeCastro said. The goal of the drill was to learn how people would react, so better emergency plans could be made, she said.

It was a wake-up for many of the teachers. "It was shocking," said elementary teacher Dollie Beck, 54…

Shocking that the school would do such a thing to an older woman?

The drill has since prompted her to keep her classroom door locked and to think of windows as escape routes, she said. But the biggest insight for her was the reminder that she is in charge of the youngsters in her classroom, and would have to remain calm in an emergency. "Emotion begets emotion," she said.

Gover said before the drill, she was comfortable she had a plan to deal with such a situation. What she learned was, her plan wasn’t much good. "It heightened my awareness about what’s around me," she said…

DeCastro has heard some criticisms of the drill from townsfolk, but is convinced it was valuable. "For us not to know how we were going to respond is leaving us open," she said.

Beck and Gover agree. "I’m in charge of a pile of kids," said Gover. "It made me analyze as a teacher what my role is for these babies."

All of the teachers involved seem to be grateful for this ‘drill.’ Or maybe they just want to hold onto their jobs. But did the teachers union sign off on this unannounced drill? Somehow we doubt it.

The district’s Safety Committee and the School Board now will critically evaluate policies and procedures and decide what to do next, said DeCastro.

Armed teachers is one possible outcome, she said. Or the district may get armed and trained volunteers from the community to watch over the school in shifts, she said. Tougher doors and better locks are other options.

Gover said the teachers tend to favor having one or two armed teachers in the building at all times. "We are so remote," Gover said, "we are going to have to take care of ourselves." …

All sensible ideas. But it’s preposterous to think that they wouldn’t have come up with the same ideas without these theatrics. We suspect there was another agenda at work here.

In any case, remember how we used to be told that the generations who grew up under the threat of nuclear attack were skewed by their fears? But, now, we are teaching kids and even teachers to be scared to death of being shot at any moment, even though, unless you are in a gang, you have more of a chance of being struck by lightning.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, May 3rd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Oregon School Holds Unannounced ‘Shooting Drill’”

  1. canary

    Too bad those that pulled the school prank didn’t get the heck beat out of them like they deserved.

  2. This clearly gets filed under “Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” … in the filing cabinet labeled Idiots

  3. yadayada

    TOTAL NUMBER OF K-12 SCHOOLS: 132,656
 (in U.S. 2010)
    source: center for education reform

    number of shootings in schools K-12 – 2012: 2
    number of shootings in health spas – 2012: 2
    number of shootings in coffee shops – 2012: 2
    source: Time magazine

    some hype here?

  4. captstubby

    “They weren’t expecting a drill like this…”
    this was all theater BS on all sides involved.
    has there ever been a “emergency drill”
    that some or all did not know about before hand?

    “to learn how people would react”
    gunmen headed into a meeting room full of teachers and opened fire.

    fish in a barrel.
    evaluate policies and procedures
    which means stronger gun laws.
    and i was one of the generations who grew up under the threat of nuclear attack ,
    we didn’t buy the hide under you desk back then.

  5. Right of the People

    I’m willing to bet that school is in a “safe,” gun free zone. It is safe only for the people with guns attacking those in the “safe” zone. They don’t have to worry about being shot. If even one of those teachers had been carrying there might have been a “tragedy” on the nightly news. Of course the media would want the armed teacher at least fired if not jailed for their horrendous “crime.”

    Whatever happened to the idea of hiring out of work vets as guards? I guess it was too rational and commonsensical to be adapted.




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