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Teachers Stage Fake Virginia-Tech-Style Attack as "Learning Experience":
No, it's not The Onion; it actually happened. Wow.
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Probably a plot by the school's "guidance counselors." Read: in-house psychological clinic; we didn't have that stuff when I was a kid, you were expected to tough it out when bad things happened, and we got pretty good at it.... Modern kids are apparently too fragile to face up to real life. We're in deep do-do, folks.

Anyhow, maybe the guidance counselors were trying to drum up some business to justify their inflated salaries in a slow time of year.

Whatever....
5.14.2007 2:03am
Ian Samuel (mail) (www):
Brooks: The article says it was an idea hatched by an assistant principal. Did you have those when you were a kid, or were they also regarded as sources of "do-do?"

Regarding inflated salaries, the median salary for guidance counselors in Virginia is $54,000; not a pittance, but hardly a princely sum either.
5.14.2007 2:59am
fffff:
Good -- this will teach our schoolchildren that they're not safe anywhere and to trust no one. What we need in this day and age is more vigilant kids -- we should thank that assistant principal. What is disappointing is that none of the kids counterattacked the fake aggressors. What kind of message would it have sent to would-be terrorist attackers if the kids disabled or killed their attackers?
5.14.2007 9:06am
fffff:
Remember people -- a pack, not a herd.
5.14.2007 9:06am
rbj:
And what, exactly, were those in charge thinking students would learn from this "experience"?

I did go through one air raid drill as a kid (may even have been 6th grade), during the 1970s, but it was clearly labelled as a drill. Not that I thought lining up and then exiting the school was a good response to Soviet planes attacking the school -- highly improbable to begin with.
5.14.2007 9:33am
Vinny Vidivici (mail):
Apparently, the lesson of this 'learning experience' was that the proper response to a threat is paralyzing fear.

The problem with turning our kids into docile, go-along-to-get-along, non-competitive hothouse flowers is that eventually they'll have to deal with people who aren't playing along.

But by then, of course, they'll also have been taught that weakness is a virtue, and that they are to blame for the dysfunctional behavior of others.
5.14.2007 9:47am
htom (mail):
I am stunned that none of those kids had smuggled a cellphone along. A call to 911 by them would have turned this story into a very different "learning experience".
5.14.2007 9:49am
William Oliver (mail) (www):
I'm not as upset about this as other folk seem to be. The fact is that the world needs all sorts of people. It needs aggressive, dynamic people to accomplish things. It needs passive sheep to act as disposable assets for use by others. And both need training in those roles. Sure, aggressive, dynamic people can cooperate and achieve a lot, but there's always a use for a person happy to be a passive tool.

My family tends to train kids to be the former -- but having the latter handy can be very useful. And I, personally, thank the families of these kids for training them for our exploitation.
5.14.2007 10:10am
Meryl Yourish (www):
I think it's a great idea! And for the next fire drill, one of those idiot teachers should set off a smoke bomb in the hallway.

That would teach kids how to deal with the effects of a real fire.

/sarcasm.
5.14.2007 10:11am
Vinny Vidivici (mail):
William:

Hillarious.

Don't forget human doormats, prison b**ches and obsequious lapdogs -- the world needs those, too.

Mediocrity rules!
5.14.2007 10:24am
Richard R (mail):
It's not the first time it's happened. In the early 80's teachers at a school in the south teamed up with local law enforcement (!) to stage a mock attack complete with men wearing bandanas waving real, unloaded guns. And just a couple of years ago "councilers" at a Christian summer cam convinced students that a nuclear attack had killed their families, and they only had minutes left.

Parents reacted pretty much the same then.
5.14.2007 10:38am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
While the NEA contract probably prevents the teachers from being fired, I believe keelhauling has not been forbidden.
My guess is those morons just recruited several dozen new folks to the NRA and the CCW way of thinking.
I don't know. It just seems to me to be wrong to do this to kids. Am I missing something?
5.14.2007 10:44am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

On the bright side most of those students now realize tha their teachers are bunch of idiotic fruitcakes that shouldn't be trusted to wipe their own arse.

So there's a positive in everything.

Let the lawsuits .... begin!
5.14.2007 10:58am
johnt (mail):
I'm guessing that a few of the above posts were exercises in drollery, otherwise the nut house doors have been jimmied.

At the sixth grade level one thing may be taken as sure, that at least some of the kids now realize what utter schmucks their teachers are. Next,will they wonder about teachers in general, in line with the idea of the expansion of young minds. There may be more learned in this then the school bargained for.
5.14.2007 11:00am
Bill Quick (mail) (www):
I guess nobody here is old enough to recall the "duck and cover " exercises we kids went through on a regular basis back in the fifties, to prepare us to react to a nuclear attack. Sometimes they told us it was a drill, and sometimes not.

After several instaces, though, we pretty much got our responses down as rote. Which was probably the point.

My quarrel would not be with the drill itself, but with whatever responses it was trying to instill.

Given how many corpses tend to be found under desks or other spurious hiding places after school massacres, training students to react as ready-made victims for the slaughter seems to me counterproductive.
5.14.2007 11:39am
Stacy (mail) (www):
I agree there might be some value to drilling for a terrorist attack, but the operative word is "drill". The teachers in this case not only didn't train anyone for anything, they actually shouted "this is not a drill" during their mock attack.
5.14.2007 12:21pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I don't know. It just seems to me to be wrong to do this to kids. Am I missing something?

Let me happily record my first-ever agreement with Mr. Aubrey.

The sadistic asst. principal should be on the job market, like, yesterday.
5.14.2007 1:02pm
jmw:
it would be interesting to know if any of the teachers or parents (whether knowing this was a drill or not) acted to protect the little children. Could be a very telling moment.
5.14.2007 1:07pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
it would be interesting to know if any of the teachers or parents (whether knowing this was a drill or not) acted to protect the little children. Could be a very telling moment.


That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Imagine the teacher who *doesn't* do the utmost to protect the kids, then finds out it's a hoax, and has his/her guilty feelings spotlighted. You could quite seriously get a suicide out of this.

There are rules against that kind of experimenting on human subjects in the university setting; I don't see why it should be okay because some dumbass assistant principal decided to go off on a lark.
5.14.2007 1:27pm
Carolina:
Three points:

1) Telling the students this was "real" seems to defeat the whole purpose of drills - i.e., students are being trained that emergencies are "fake" unless their teachers tell them they are "real." I thought the whole point of drills was to make the desired responses so routine that in the event of the "real thing", the students would act like it was a drill and respond correctly without panic. Telling them it is "real" would seem to incite fear and panic for no useful purpose.

2) This event, from the news report, seems to have terrified some of the students. Given the rarity of school shootings, even if telling them the event was "real" served some useful training purpose (which I highly doubt, see #1), doesn't the price of unnecessarily terrifying students make this exercise a very bad idea?

3) Given the VT incident and other such, teaching the students to cower under the desks does not seem to be very sound. At least not in all circumstances.
5.14.2007 1:29pm
TMac (mail):
The idiots involved in this farce should all be fired. People who have real guns (park rangers, game wardens etc)are frequently about at odd hours in our parks. This could have turned into a real tradegy.
For many, it seems the animal instinct of fight or flight has become cower and cry.
5.14.2007 2:03pm
The Drill SGT:
And if an armed state Fish and Game Warden, or local sheriff, or a passerby with a gun in his trunk had heard a bunch of 12 year olds screaming and a masked man pounding on a door?

somebody dies.

who would be responsible then? Obviously, gun violence all too common in America.

reminds me of the time when the boyfriends of the next door neighbors girls decided that shooting my front door with a paintball gun was a smart thing. Not thinking of course of the impact that the sight would have on a cop driving by or me and my 12 gauge.


dumb is dumb
5.14.2007 2:10pm
The Drill SGT:
sorry, tmac beat me to the same thought :)
5.14.2007 2:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
If you were a teacher what percentage of your colleagues could you afford to have known to the students as idiots?
It's fine if the kids know that, say, 10% of teachers are idiots? Twenty percent?
I would think that teachers who were interested in the process of education would object to having morons like these clowns in the same profession, much less the same building.
5.14.2007 2:41pm
Dave T (mail):
Can you say lawsuit! I can't stand our litigious society but as a parent I would sue those B***ards so fast it would make your head spin.
5.14.2007 2:42pm
c.f.w. (mail):
An interesting question is what should a group of sixth graders or high schoolers or college kids be trained to do?

I suppose the "best practices" could be tested to some degree with paint ball guns or the like.

Fight or flight seems like the menu - with flight being the distinctly preferred action.

Escape and evasion can be taught, and was taught to fliers.

I suppose there could be rope ladders on 2d floor window sills, windows that open (or could be broken out), doors that lock (or do not open without a key or key card).

For lawyers on the 22d floor, what about having a gun or two and a flak vest or two? What would the Swiss do? I suppose if there were a few National Guard or Reserve folks on the floor, with flak vests, helmets and weapons, trained to use them, the fight option might get a bit more credible.

Giving typical 10-15 per hour security guards weapons sounds more risky and less effective than training (or offering to train) a few citizen-soldiers, as in Switz.

At VA Tech there was at least one Army vet (mech eng. prof) who might theoretically have done some good with a weapon, flak vest and helmet. VA Tech only took say 9 minutes, so chance of saving a life was remote.
5.14.2007 2:44pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
To "drill" a group of kids, without first giving them any training in viable survival strategies, is nothing short of child abuse. It can do nothing but cause kids to panic for no good reason. As was previously mentioned, the idea of a drill is to train people in appropriate responses to a crisis. By lying to the kids, they may have sown the seeds for a future tragedy. The kids may refuse to believe the staff next time they are told "this is not a drill".

Most of the 6th graders I know have more sense than these so-called educators.
5.14.2007 3:00pm
Waldensian (mail):

Modern kids are apparently too fragile to face up to real life.

Oh please. Older people have been saying this kind of drivel for thousands of years. Somebody probably said it about you.

In general, the young adults who are getting shot at on my behalf in Iraq and Afghanistan are damned impressive, and they had to come from somewhere. But just a year or two ago many of them were "modern kids." How does that square with your theory?
5.14.2007 3:12pm
Waldensian (mail):

Giving typical 10-15 per hour security guards weapons sounds more risky and less effective than training (or offering to train) a few citizen-soldiers, as in Switz.

At VA Tech there was at least one Army vet (mech eng. prof) who might theoretically have done some good with a weapon, flak vest and helmet. VA Tech only took say 9 minutes, so chance of saving a life was remote.

We'll never know. But you don't need a weapon, flak vest, helmet, and military training to stop a mass murderer like Cho. A weapon alone can be sufficient.

And it's quite a bit better than nothing. Honestly, it's hard to imagine how the situation at Virginia Tech could have been worse than it was.

You may be right about security guards being more risky and less effective with weapons than trained citizen soldiers. I've never seen the data. But we do know that concealed-carry licensees generally have an excellent safety record.
5.14.2007 3:16pm
Russ (mail):
Fire these teachers, and do so publicly.
5.14.2007 3:20pm
Steve:
The teachers never would have dared to pull off this ridiculous stunt if our nanny state didn't refuse to issue concealed-carry permits to 6th graders.
5.14.2007 4:28pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Richard R., if you go back somewhat further, to the late '40s-early '50s (I've forgotten the details) the American Legion 'took over' a town in, I believe, Wisconsin to demonstrate what would happen if the commies took over.

It was a drill, yet not a drill, as businessmen who declined to participate were 'arrested' anyway..
5.14.2007 5:20pm
microtherion (mail):

Giving typical 10-15 per hour security guards weapons sounds more risky and less effective than training (or offering to train) a few citizen-soldiers, as in Switz.


Having gone to elementary school, high school, and college in Switzerland, I never encountered so much as a fire drill. Although many of my teachers were soldiers or even officers (one college professor was a Colonel, who once lectured in his parade uniform because he didn't have time to change, earning some ridicule), they most assuredly did not pack heat while teaching.

As the massacre in the Zug parliament a few years ago showed, mad gunmen don't have a much harder time in Switzerland than elsewhere.
5.14.2007 7:10pm
Kev (mail) (www):

The article says it was an idea hatched by an assistant principal. Did you have those when you were a kid, or were they also regarded as sources of "do-do?"


Well, maybe not doo-doo, but this administrator in particular and others of his ilk have become quite useless in the big picture of education. (And doo-doo is composed of waste products, so...ok, yeah, that analogy works.)

The big problem with our schools today is that administrators have stopped being teachers and have morphed into useless bureaucrats and politicians, with the same disconnect from the real world inherent in those two groups. Enact a rule saying that administrators must teach, and we'd go a long way towards solving that problem.

(The next step in that progresion would be to enact a similar rule saying that legislators must be regular citizens.)
5.14.2007 8:32pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
The big problem with our schools today is that administrators have stopped being teachers and have morphed into useless bureaucrats and politicians, with the same disconnect from the real world inherent in those two groups.


Worse still! Bureaucrats with tenure. Don't know how they do things in Tenn. but in NY they'd probably have to suspend the AP for at least 2 years (at full pay) while the disciplinary process grinds on. The outcome would not be certain by any means. To try that on several educators would likely be more than any but the bigger school districts could afford.
5.14.2007 9:37pm
Joshua:
This reminds me of the scene in Lethal Weapon 3 in which Mel Gibson and Danny Glover intervene in what they think is a robbery in progress, only to discover (too late) that the "robbers" were actors making a movie.
5.15.2007 9:43am
e:
A big mistake and teachers should be told that in clear terms, but calls for termination and lawsuits just further demonstrate our tendency for overreaction. It probably doesn't require either to solve the problem, but I forget the zero-defect must-pillory-someone state of affairs.
5.15.2007 1:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
e:

Telling the teachers they screwed up bigtime is for not turning in the attendance sheets for a month. Or lesson plans, or whatever.
Or for spending more time on George Washington than Noam Chomsky.

For this....?
5.15.2007 1:27pm
Nikki:
Oh c'mon Richard, at least say Michael Moore or something. I doubt Chomsky is accessible enough even for most public school teachers, much less their students.
5.15.2007 2:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Probably right. And not setting up a shrine to Howard Zinn.
5.15.2007 3:53pm