NC Middle School Terrifies Kids with a Masked GunmanBy: Erika Watts - October 17, 2013
Imagine that you send your kid to school one day, only to hear that a masked man wielding a gun showed up. You’d assume the worst, right? After all, stories where people take guns into schools never end well. While such a situation happened at a Wayne County, NC school on Friday, no one was harmed–the mask was real, but the gun was fake and was being used to teach the sixth graders at Eastern Wayne Middle School a “lesson.”
Apparently at a middle school in Wayne County, some employees think that getting a masked man with a gun to rob students is an appropriate way to teach them how to be aware of their surroundings. While some parents might think that’s an extreme way to teach kids a lesson, but not be too upset with it as long as they had a chance to opt their kids in or out, parents of Eastern Wayne Middle School students never had such an opportunity. Parents didn’t learn of the training exercise until after it was conducted.
The school received quite a few phone calls from ticked off parents, which prompted school officials to send out a letter explaining the situation on Monday. The letter explains that the masked man with a toy gun was part of an “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship.” The letter goes on to say that after a staff member entered all of the sixth grade classrooms and pretended to rob them, their teachers explained that it was all play-acting.
School official Ken Derksen says that the exercise lacked sensitivity and admits that maybe having a masked man with a gun scare kids wasn’t the best way to teach the lesson. “It obviously did lack that sensitivity that was needed…all of our schools work very hard to promote a safe learning environment…in this situation, the exercise in its original intent was appropriate, but in how it was executed it obviously lacked judgment,” said Derksen, who is a Public Information Officer with the Wayne County Public Schools.
Would you be outraged if your child were part of such a training exercise? Respond below.
One parent of a child who has already graduated says that he thinks parents have “every right to be upset.” “I think after Sandy Hook less than a year ago and countless school shootings in recent years, it is quite understandable if these sixth graders were traumatized by the sight of a paid fake masked gunman entering the school,” said Clint Belue. “I think the parents have every right to be upset particularly since they had no knowledge beforehand about the paid fake gunman. Parents send their kids to school to learn, not to be terrorized by a paid fake gunman.”
So far no action has been taken against the staff member who decided to dress as a masked gunman and scare the kids, but officials are looking into the situation to decide whether it warrants the person being suspended.