MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) -- Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.
The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.
"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.
But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.
"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.
Some parents said they were upset by the staff's poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.
During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.
After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.
"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."
Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation "involved poor judgment."
This is not how we should be protecting our children, this is the type of thing we need to protect them from!!!
Terrifying them to the point where they thought they would actually be killed.
I am not a shrink but it doesn't take one to understand the emotional damage they have inflicted on these children with their careless, reckless staged terror incident.
What kind of moron would do this?
For once, I am happy to say that political blogs from both sides of the aisle are in agreement (so far) that this was barbaric and stupid of the school to do.
Do you know what is going on in the school YOUR children attend?