Several Indiana elementary school teachers are claiming that they were left with welts, bruises, and abrasions after an active shooter training drill in January — during which they were allegedly shot at repeatedly with plastic pellets without warning.
Two anonymous teachers in Monticello told IndyStar that for the training, teachers were asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall, before being shot across their backs with airsoft guns.
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” one of the teachers said. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. It hurt so bad.”
On Wednesday, the Indiana State Teachers Association called for educator and student safety to be addressed in active shooter drills at schools, tweeting that it had heard from members of the association who were injured during a recent training.
The teachers, along with ISTA, are now trying to stop this from happening again in other schools. On Wednesday, Gail Zeheralis, director of government relations for the ISTA, asked lawmakers to alter a school-safety bill to add language prohibiting teachers from being shot with any sort of ammunition.
“What we’re looking for is just a simple statement in this bill that would prohibit the shooting of some type of projectile at staff in an active shooter drill,” she said, according to IndyStar.
Under H.B. 1004, Indiana schools must have at least one active shooter drill per year, though it doesn’t include rules on what training program a school chooses.
White County sheriff Bill Brooks, whose department led the training in question, told IndyStar that teachers “all knew they could be” shot, but after they were told that one teacher was upset by the exercise, the department stopped using the airsoft guns. He added that he was not sure of how many times airsoft guns have been used for the training.
Barbara Deardorff, an ISTA official, told the newspaper that she hadn’t heard of teachers being shot with pellets: “This is not the normal practice.”
The State Senate’s Education Committee will consider amendments for the bill next week, IndyStar reported.