Pupils petrified by gunman drill

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First Grader
Teachers stage mock gunman attack
Students huddle under tables, thinking they will die
School says the drill involved "poor judgment"

TEACHERS at a Tennessee school who staged a mock attack by a gunman on a school trip left children crying under tables in dark room thinking they were going to die.

The mock attack last Thursday night was meant to be a "learning experience and lasted five minutes" during a week-long trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School assistant principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.

On the last night of the trip, the teachers told the 69 students there was a gunman on the loose.

They were told to lie on the floor or hide under tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweatshirt, even pulled on a locked door, the Associated Press reported.

When the lights went out, about 20 children began crying, said 11-year-old Shay Naylor.

"At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out," she said.

Parents of the children, who were all about 11 years old, were outraged over the drill- especially as it came in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting.

"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

School principal Catherine Stephens said the situation "involved poor judgment" but would not say whether the staff would face discipline.


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