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Parents Furious, Principal on Leave After What Happened During Active Shooter Drill

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Parents of children as young as 4 and 5 years of age are furious at a California elementary school principal for traumatizing kids with an “active shooter drill” that was not sanctioned by the district.

The ill-advised surprise mass shooter drill occurred on Feb. 7 at Washington Elementary in San Gabriel, California, an eastern suburb of Los Angeles, according to KTLA-TV.

When parents found out about how school principal Nina Denson conducted the event, they were furious at her behavior toward the children, believing she had terrorized their young kids.

According to parents, Denson walked around the school, pointed at the children and pronounced them dead, KTLA reported.

“She proceeded to walk around campus and pretended to shoot people she saw using finger movements and banging on windows,” parent Jennifer Chavez said. “From what I heard, she said to one of the students, ‘Boom. You’re dead.’”

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Parents worried that some of the children were too young to understand what was going on.

“Oh, he was really upset,” Chavez said of her son, a first-grader. “The one shocking, surprising thing he said as a 6-year-old was, ‘I’m just really glad none of my friends died.'”

After the drill, Denson announced that seven children were designated as “dead,” according to staff members.

“Can you imagine the trauma these children potentially could go through just thinking, ‘Oh my God, my friend was killed,’ or, ‘I was shot and told I died’?” parent Anna Bustamante said, according to KTLA. “At the young age that these children are, it was very upsetting.”

Should teachers be allowed to go to work armed?

District officials told parents it was not an authorized safety drill.

“This type of drill where a scenario was run is not approved by the district nor part of our district protocol,” San Gabriel Unified School District Superintendent Jim Symonds said.

The district also sent out an email to Washington Elementary parents saying, “The conduct of the drill does not appear to have been in line with District protocols or best practices.”

Officials also said the principal was put on administrative leave while an investigation into the incident is conducted.

KTLA reported school staffers were also shocked by the way Denson conducted the drill and felt it was inappropriate.

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In its statement, the district said the shooter drill was not in keeping with district guidelines, KABC-TV reported.

“Shortly after the conclusion of the lockdown drill at Washington Elementary School on Wednesday, District administration was made aware of concerns from teachers, and later parents, from the site. After an initial investigation, the District determined that the drill did not appear to be conducted in line with either District guidance or recommended best practices,” it said.

“As the District conducts a thorough investigation of what happened, the principal will be on a leave of absence for the duration of the review. Ms. Katie Ingram, teacher at Washington Elementary, has agreed to serve as the Administrative Designee in the principal’s absence. Ms. Ingram has served in the District for 19 years, including service as the lead teacher at Washington,” the district concluded.

It is without a doubt that schools need to make plans to confront criminal shooters who invade schools with the plan to kill children.

However, such things need to be taken seriously, which Denson certainly does not seem to have done.

The argument can be made that arming staffers and teachers — or at least placing armed police officers in the most vulnerable schools — would be one of those important policy choices.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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