Members of the Indiana State Teachers Association testified Wednesday before a state education committee that elementary school teachers had been shot “execution style” with pellet guns as part of an active shooter training conducted by the local sheriff’s office, according to the Indianapolis Star.
According to an account from the association, “four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles” during the January training at Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana.
Two of the elementary teachers told the Star that while they had voluntarily agreed to participate in the training, they had not been warned they would be shot. They said the pellets had left them with bruises and welts, and at least one teacher said a pellet left her bleeding.
According to their account, the officers told the teachers to kneel against the classroom wall before unloading a round of pellets from an airsoft gun without any warning. “They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’ ” one of the teachers told the Star. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. … It hurt so bad.”
White County Sheriff Bill Brooks told the Star that after his department received a complaint from one of the participants, they stopped using the pellet gun in trainings. Brooks, who has served as sheriff since January, said his department has conducted this kind of training before and that the teachers should not have been surprised they were shot by the airsoft gun. “They all knew they could be,” he told the Star. “It’s a shooting exercise.”
The account from the teachers association also indicated that they had been told not to warn others what was in store for them. “The teachers were terrified, but were told not to tell anyone what happened,” the group tweeted. “Teachers waiting outside that heard the screaming [and] were brought into the room four at a time and the shooting process was repeated.”
The “options-based” training the teachers and some staff received encourages students and educators to rush school shooters or throw objects at them instead of just hiding or hunkering down. Teachers said the airsoft gun was used in other exercises in the training, during which several teachers were shot with the pellets.
Teachers testifying before the Indiana Senate Education Committee on Wednesday asked that lawmakers add language into one of their school safety bills to prohibit educators or staff from being shot with any kind of projectile.