Educational Exercises Aimed At School Shootings, Drug Abuse Result In Terrorized Students And K-9 Attacks
from the administrators-and-cops:-both-woefully-underqualified-to-educateq dept
In what seems to be a continuance of the questionable “scared straight” programs (questioned by no less that the DOJ), schools are involving kids in drills ostensibly aimed at educating them about how to react in extremely rare situations. Recently, we covered a so-called “drill” that involved a hijacked bus full of kids, which was “defused” in front of an audience comprised mainly of educators and people holding the local PD’s purse strings. It was a rousing success, if your measurement standard starts at “everyone dies” and tops out at “no one was injured.” This was portrayed as an essential bit of “anti-terrorism” training and an educational experience for bus drivers and students, but considering it all played out in front of town officials, the ultimate purpose seemed to be nothing more than a chance for the cops to play dress-up and get all duded up in some underused tactical gear.
Scott Greenfield covers another bit of “education” aimed at, well, who knows what exactly. The new concern is the “active shooter,” and several schools are performing drills onsite in order to train staff (and children) how to react in case of school shooting.
Today, schools are engaging in active shooter drills. Trying to impute the best of faith to those who came up with the idea, it’s because this is perceived as the most likely tragedy that a school can face. It may not be likely, but it does happen. So why not be prepared?
“If you missed last week’s ‘mad gunman terrorizes American schoolchildren’ news story,this time out of North Carolina, don’t feel bad; these days they’re common enough that it’s not reasonable to expect any one person can keep up with them all.
Still, last week’s story was notable for two reasons: One, nobody actually got shot; and two, the gunman was on the school’s payroll. Seriously: Administrators at Eastern Wayne Middle School later sent parents a letter explaining that they sent a masked gunman to various sixth-grade classrooms as an ‘enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.'”
The explanation letter, reducing a basic concept of disaster preparedness to the idiocy of “exhibiting good citizenship” (a good citizen does not get shot?) can be forgiven. To the extent school administrators were ever capable of using comprehensible language to explain something clearly and accurately, they are now paid by the jargon phrase used and can’t be expected to forget the entirety of their education and experience. Just ignore it.
There’s more stupidity here, including the fact that children aren’t being informed that these are, in fact, drills.
A suburban Chicago high school ran a “code red” drill with the gunmen shooting blanks in January. Last month, an Indiana school ran a shooting drill replete with blood and a body count.
Last year, an El Paso, Tex., school set up a shocking surprise lockdown simulation that enraged parents like Stephanie Belcher, whose son sent her a panicked text message.
“He said, ‘I’m not kidding. There’s gunshots and people screaming and we were locked in a storage closet,’ ” Belcher told KFOX-TV. “These kids thought that their classmates were being killed and that they could be next. There’s no excuse for that.”
The potential for harm, either physical or emotional, is high. “Preparing” students for a highly unlikely event by terrorizing them teaches them nothing more than “this situation is terrifying.” It’s highly doubtful anyone from the administration side is learning anything either. If they were, they might realize how counterproductive it is to prepare for an event you can’t control by inducing a uninformed state of panic in the student body. No amount of tying “try not to die” to citizenship ideals is going to change that.
But cops and admins like drills, especially when it gives law enforcement a chance to show off their “tools” (often just guns and tactical gear). Cops and admins also like teaching kids that any policy- or law-violating act is sure to result in swift and zealous punishment.
In Brazil, Indiana, Judge J. Blaine Akers decided to kick off a weeklong “Red Ribbon Awareness” event at the courthouse by grabbing some local elementary school students and subjecting them to a simulated drug search. Things went predictably bad.
According to the report, the officer and his K-9 partner, Max, as well as another K-9 team were requested by Clay County Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers to carry out a simulated raid of a party with actors in place to help “educate the Clay County fifth-graders on drug awareness.”
He added the juveniles in the scenario met with officers prior to the start and were asked to remain still when the dogs searched for narcotics.
McQueen said a very small amount of illegal drugs were hidden on one of the juveniles to show how the dogs can find even the smallest trace of an illegal substance. He added all this was done “under exclusive control and supervision of members of the court and law enforcement.” Four scenarios were carried out that day with the incident occurring during the third scenario.
“As I got closer to the actors, Max began searching the juveniles,” according to the officer’s report. “The first male juvenile began moving his legs around as Max searched him. When the male began moving his legs, (this is what) I believe prompted Max’s action to bite the male juvenile on the left calf.”
In appreciation for his participation in this bizarre “simulation,” the fifth grader was gifted with a free trip to the hospital to treat puncture wounds. There’s a lot that’s impossibly stupid about this judge’s ill-advised “demonstration,” but there apparently wasn’t a single cop who thought this might be a bad idea — certainly not beforehand and, judging from the post-incident comments, not in hindsight, either.
“It was an unfortunate accident,” said Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen. “Wish it hadn’t happened like that but it did. We are trying to evaluate (the incident) to make sure nothing like this happens again.”
Easy. Don’t subject people, whether they’re elementary student or adults, to fake drug sweeps, especially if you’re going to plant drugs on them and send a dog trained to react aggressively to drugs and sudden movements out to give them a nasal patdown.
There’s also this, as was pointed out by criminal defense lawyer Robert Fickman:
What’s important to note within this story beyond the obvious, is the unstated ease in which the cops planted dope on the child.
That’s comforting news for anyone who’s had a law enforcement officer touch their person or belongings. Also comforting? The fact that the officers pursued statements from other children to corroborate their story.
The other K-9 officer met with Walters after the incident and said that several other children involved in the scenario saw the young man shake his legs when Max approached.
McQueen said the incident was not anything “out of control,” but just a quick reaction by the dog to the young man’s sudden movement.
Kids move. Kids get nervous or bored or uncomfortable and move. Even adults, innocent adults, get nervous when engaging with law enforcement and will move inadvertently. These officers put kids in the path of an animal that’s been trained to be half-investigator, half-weapon and expected everything to go well.
And all of this was, according to the judge who set it up, an “educational” experience meant to raise “drug awareness.” But in practice, it’s little more than Scared Straight Lite. Instead of spending time with criminals, kids are spending more and more time in the presence of armed officers — people they believe are supposed to be their protectors but whose actual mileage may vary after being bitten by an attack dog or locked in a closet listening to gunshots and screaming.
On the other hand, perhaps some sort of educational growth is being obtained, although it certainly isn’t what those ordering this drills and exercises would hope to be the outcome. Kids may be learning that law enforcement officers are inscrutable and possibly dangerous. They may be learning that inadvertent movements, if viewed as “threatening” or “sudden” by officers (and their dogs), are instantly punishable by the application of pain… or worse. They may also be learning that those in power entertain themselves by performing a whole lot of dubious “somethings” that toy with the emotional health of those under their control, solely in order to show constituents that they’re on top of the problem — whether it’s school shootings, drug use or plain old disobedience.