Sixth-grade students at Eastern Wayne Middle School in North Carolina unknowingly took part in a horrifying "enrichment" lesson involving a fake masked gunman last Friday.
As students sat in class, someone in a mask reportedly rushed into the room and pretended to rob them with a fake pistol. The students were not aware of the exercise ahead of time.
When angry parents predictably complained, the school sent a letter explaining why the "exercise" was conducted:
"As part of an enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings, another staff member entered the sixth grade classrooms and pretends to steal an item while dressed in a ski-mask and holding a toy pistol. Even though the play-acting caused some initial concerns, once the skit was completed, the teachers quickly explained who the person was and that the ‘theft’ was not real."
Given all the concerns about school shootings, there likely was a much better way of teaching students to be aware of their surroundings.
Ken Derksen, public information officer with the Wayne County Public Schools, told WTVD-TV that activity "did lack that sensitivity that was needed."
However, "the exercise in its original intent was appropriate, but in how it was executed it obviously lacked judgment," he added.
"The school system said they received a few phone calls from concerned parents regarding the incident. They said an investigation is ongoing into exactly what happened and the employee dressed up as the armed robber could be facing disciplinary action," WTVD-TV reports.