Teachers at an Indiana elementary school were reportedly shot with plastic pellets during active-shooter training conducted by a local sheriff's office earlier this year.
Two elementary school teachers in Monticello, Ind., told The Indianapolis Star that law enforcement officers sprayed classroom instructors with plastic pellets after telling them to kneel down against a wall. The newspaper noted that teachers were not warned about this exercise and that it left them with bruises and abrasions.
“They told us, ‘this is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” one of the two teachers told the Star. Both teachers who came forward about the training asked to remain anonymous over concerns about their job.
“They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. It hurt so bad,” the teacher added.
The Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) is now calling for this exercise to stop. Gail Zeheralis, director of government relations for the ISTA, asked lawmakers on Wednesday to alter language to a House bill that makes various changes to the Indiana safe schools grant program.
“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,” Zeheralis said in her testimony.
ISTA would like to have educator and student safety addressed in active shooter drills at schools. ISTA heard from members who were injured during a recent training.— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
The Star notes that Meadowlawn Elementary School teachers in January were intended to go through an exercise that calls for individuals to be proactive while responding to a shooter. Shooting teachers with pellet guns is not usually a part of the training, the Star reported.
Barbara Deardorff, an ISTA official, told the newspaper that she had never heard of teachers being shot with pellets during the exercise before the incident at Meadowlawn.
White County, Ind., Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose department led the training, told the Star that it had stopped using airsoft guns during active-shooter trainings after receiving a complaint. He added that he is unsure how many times airsoft guns have been used for the training.
H.B. 1004 requires Indiana schools to have at least one active-shooter drill per year. It does not include mandates regarding which training program a school chooses.
The state Senate's education committee will consider amendments for the bill next week, the Star reported.