Have you ever heard of a bad idea so sublimely tasteless and terrible that you fall to the ground and mutely curse the gods who have forsook you and all of your wretched mortal companions? No? Here's one! A North Carolina public school decided to provide its sixth-graders with an "enrichment lesson" by having someone dressed as a masked gunman come into their classroom and pretend to rob them with a fake pistol. Ironically, the point of this "enrichment exercise" was to teach the students about being aware.
Maybe someone needs to come into the administrative offices of Eastern Wayne Middle School dressed as a masked murderer in order to teach them a thing or two about awareness (nope, just kidding, no one should EVER do this). This decade has been marred by far too many brutal, terrible, soul-numbing school shootings; to recreate a similar scenario is both traumatizing to the students involved in the surprise "playacting" — as a note sent out by the school board termed it — and unspeakably disrespectful to all the real humans who have suffered loss and devastation as a result of actual mass violence. It takes a very unaware person not to realize that.
After several parents complained to the school, a letter was sent home that feebly attempted to explain what had happened:
As part of an enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings, another staff member entered the sixth grade classrooms and pretgend 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 ski was completed, the teachers quickly explained who the person was and that the 'theft' was not real.
Yes, we terrorized your children, but once we were done we quickly explained that it was all a big elaborate fantasy! No worries! It's cool! See you at that PTA thing later!
"The way it was put, obviously, lacked that sensitivity that needed... In this situation, the exercise in its original intent was appropriate, but how it was executed obviously lacked judgment," sputtered Ken Derksen, Public Information Officer with the Wayne County Public schools, in an interview with Fox 8. Yes, it is appropriate to tell a student to be conscientious about his or her own safety; good point, Ken. Conversely, it is the height of "lack[ing] judgment" to convince a 12-year-old that they're in danger of being shot by a pistol. Thanks for clearing that up.
"School gun lesson upsets Wayne Co. parents" [Fox 8]
Image via Vartanov Anatoly/Shutterstock.