Indiana Elementary school teachers who participated in an active fire exercise reported receiving plastic bullets that left them with bruises and marks.
The White County Sheriff's Office held the training exercise at the Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana, in January.
IndyStar reported that two elementary teachers had testified before a legislator this week that they had participated in an exercise where local law enforcement officials had asked teachers to kneel down. against the wall of a classroom before being hit without warning by plastic pellets.
"They told us," It's what happens if you only shake and do nothing, "IndyStar told one of the two teachers who did not want to be identified. "They hit us all in the back. I've been hit four times. It hurts so much.
The Indiana State Teachers Association tweeted: "During an active fire drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, forced to squat and were executed with a kind of projectile, which caused such wounds as the blood was fired. "
ISTA is now pressuring lawmakers to add wording prohibiting teachers from firing ammunition of any kind into a Safe Schools Bill, House Bill 1004, which is currently making its way into the Statehouse.
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According to Bill 1004, all schools must have an active fire drill at least once a year, but no specific training program.
Bill Brooks, Sheriff of White County, told Fox News that about four officers went to Meadowlawn Elementary School in January to conduct an active fire training exercise called ALICE, which usually involves the use of a pneumatic device called airsoft guns.
According to IndyStar, thousands of schools across the country, especially in Indiana, use ALICE for workout exercises.
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Brooks said that the plastic pellets are more than 6 mm in diameter compared to a BB, which is made of metal and measures about 4 mm in diameter.
"It's a larger plastic projectile than the much smaller metal one," Sheriff Brooks told Fox News. He said that the plastic projectile is much softer.
"It was 100% voluntary," Brooks told Fox News. "Most of the teachers volunteered, a few did and were allowed to observe."
He added that the teachers had learned that they would be affected by airsoft weapons as part of the training and that they have always volunteered.
Brooks said that he was in elementary school for part of the January training, but was not present when the airsoft gun was used.
The two Meadowlawn teachers who spoke to IndyStar said that they had not been warned by the officers before the exercise that anyone would be killed.
One of the teachers said that she was waiting at the library with other teachers when the first small group went to a classroom for the January training session.
"The first groups came in and we heard them screaming and screaming," she said. "We thought: what's going on?
The teacher described what had happened when it was his turn to participate: "It was like a quick vomiting of these pellets."
"Most of us have been hit repeatedly in the back," said the professor.
She said that the pellets left marks of welts and a place where she broke her skin.
"The safety of our children remains our top priority and we will continue active shooter training, but teachers will no longer be involved."
Juli Topp, Vice President of Representation of the Twin Lakes Class Teachers' Organization, told IndyStar that she had met with Meadowlawn's teachers last week and heard similar stories from more from a dozen different teachers.
"They voluntarily enrolled in this training, but they did not know that they were going to be shot," Topp said.
In a statement released Thursday, Michael Galvin, Superintendent of Twin Lakes Schools, said the school district is committed to providing a safe environment for its students and employees.
"… Twin Lakes works in partnership with the White County Sheriff's Department to ensure public safety and train Twin Lakes staff, which includes ALICE training," said Galvin. "Recently, the Twin Lakes classroom teacher organization posed questions about how the sheriff's department had organized the ALICE training, and Twin Lakes organized a meeting with the association and the sheriff's department to discuss these issues collaboratively. "
Brooks told Fox News that teachers would no longer be invited to participate in any training and that airsoft guns would only be used in active fire training exercises when only officers were involved.
"This is the first incident or complaint we have ever received. We did not receive any complaints that day. In fact, on the contrary, they loved the training and we still receive many calls for support from teachers and the public, "Brooks told Fox News. "The safety of our children remains our top priority and we will continue active shooter training, but teachers will no longer be involved."
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Bill 1004 should be amended at the Senate Education Committee next week.