The post-Virginia Tech hysteria has finally hit innocent victims. Teachers from a school in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, entrusted with a group of little kids on what should have been an enjoyable educational trip, decided to experiment last Thursday night.
They wondered what would happen if a gunman attacked. How would they cope? What would the kids do? This turned into a nasty “prank” they later tried to pass off as a drill, in which staff enacted a gun-siege situation, traumatizing their 6th-grade students.
Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip, got together with his colleague, teacher Quentin Masters, and decided to stage a mock attack on their young charges – a “drill,” if you will, but a drill with a difference. The teachers told the students a gunman was on the loose and their lives were in danger.
For five horrifying minutes, 69 children hid, cried, and begged for their lives under tables in a locked, dark room while a teacher, disguised in a hooded sweatshirt pulled at the locked door like the Big Bad Wolf and pretended to grapple with an armed assailant. What made this worse, if it could be worse, is that the children had, according to the school, already been put through properly organised Red Code drills in the wake of the VT and other campus and school shootings, so they were fully aware of the implications of a real alert.
Their teachers repeatedly told the kids it was not a drill, that it was a Code Red situation. This effectively abused the trust built up by the process of authentic drills and made their experience all the more traumatic and all the more cruel.
Principal Catherine Stephens said the events “involved poor judgment.” More like a poor grip on reality, in my opinion. Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch who has now been suspended along with his colleague amidst the public outcry, said, “We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation.”
Newsflash! Having 69 vulnerable young people in your care is a real life situation. Instead of dealing with reality appropriately and in a trustworthy manner, he and his colleagues decided to play fantasy games with children’s emotional well-being. If I were a parent of one of those children, I’d sue his ass. If I were any of the staff involved I’d be looking for another job – perhaps “World Of Warcraft” needs people?