Teachers were in a meeting in the Pine Eagle Charter School in Halfway, Oregon when two hooded figures burst into the room and sprayed screaming teachers with gunfire. It turned out to be blanks and they turned out to be cops. This was viewed as a useful drill to prepare the teachers for school massacre scenarios.
Such an unannounced exercise could just as well have resulted in a heart attack or other medical emergency. It is not clear what the teachers learned much beyond what it is like to be shot.
Principal Cammie DeCastro noted that they learned that few people would survive among the 15 teachers. Only two were not hit by the spray of gunfire. It is not clear why actually shooting teachers was needed for that particular lesson or what they got from that realization even if they could not have anticipated it.
Elementary teacher Dollie Beck, 54, said that she learned to keep her classroom door locked and to think of windows as escape routes.
By the way, Halfway has a population of only 288. One teacher explained that the exercise was needed because “We are tender-hearted people who give hugs all day. We don’t think like that.”
The question is whether it is necessary to think like that in such exercises. I think it is wise to train staff on all such emergencies but we are seeing districts giving teachers bulletproof shields and arming janitors. Even if you are going to carry out exercises, such unannounced attacks present other risks of actual heart attacks and panic attacks as part of the faux victims. Fortunately, unlike other ill-conceived pranks and exercises, the students were not present for the Oregon practice massacre.