A video of an active shooting drill at a Pennsylvania school has received sharp criticism over the decision to have a teacher play a would-be shooter wearing what appeared to be a Middle Eastern-style headdress, reports NBC News.
The Penn-Trafford School District, which is located just east of Pittsburgh, wrote in an online statement posted on Wednesday that the video shows an active shooter drill intended to practice emergency protocol and “build confidence in the staff members’ awareness of how to respond to an emergency.”
In the video, which was filmed in January, two teacher volunteers were given “costumes and accessories” from an active shooter drill consultant group to “alter their appearance so that they were not readily recognizable,” the statement reads.
One volunteer is seen wearing a zip-up jacket and “long blonde wig with a scarf tied around his neck and head and a paintball/tactical mask over his face,” the statement says.
The video also appears to show armed police officers confronting the man in the headdress, pointing their weapons at him.
“Show me your hands,” the officers yell.
Minutes later, the officers can be seen escorting him down a hallway with his hands behind his back.
The video has sparked a fierce backlash from social media users, including district alumni.
One user, who says she’s an alumna, called the incident “unacceptable.”
this was my high school. This is unacceptable. https://t.co/wzHaFTtFld
— Alicia McElhaney (@AliciaMcElhaney) May 15, 2019
Another called it “moronic on so many levels.”
They shouldn't have realistic drills with fake assailants/shooting. It is traumatic for students. And that's aside from the fact that I can't remember the last time a school shooter wore ANY disguise, and they are nearly all young white men. This is moronic on so many levels.
— Karen Beaudway (@beaudwayk) May 16, 2019
The district says there was “no intent to represent any particular culture or religion.”
“PT prides itself on instilling respect for others, in its students and staff and has conducted numerous trainings on cultural diversity,” the statement says. “The District strongly believes in diversity and inclusion and strives to provide its students an educational environment reflective of the world community.”