School superintendent defends having janitor wear mask, carry fake gun during active shooter drill

A superintendent of a California school is standing by his decision to allow a janitor to wear a mask and carry a fake gun during active shooter drill before the summer break. (Photo: CBS47)

A superintendent in California is standing by his decision to allow a janitor to wear a mask, carry a fake gun, and run around an elementary school's campus during an active shooter drill as, he believes, it made the drill more "realistic."

Just before students at Raisin City Elementary School were dismissed for their summer break, teachers and students, who had no idea the drill would occur, were terrified by an incredibly realistic active shooter drill. However, superintendent Juan Sandoval says that he has not heard a single complaint from parents.

"I don’t think it was wrong. It was a drill. Because usually these drills become routine to students and we wanted to make sure this was realistic," Sandoval told CBS47. "When it’s a real situation, it’s worse than that. The teachers and students need to know this is reality.”

However, Kim Copper, a teacher at the school, says the drill clearly went too far.

“I though this might not really be a drill, and what am I going to do," Cooper, who has been a teacher for 22 years, told the station. “I love these students and I don’t know what I can do. I thought, ‘Wow, am I going to go down like this, out at Raisin City School?’”

According to Cooper, she and her students attempted to stay quiet as they sat together in the corner of the classroom. Someone, supposedly the masked janitor, was banging on the door and attempting to open it. The drill left the children terrified.

“I had one boy, he was trying to be very quiet about it, but he was sobbing," Cooper said. "You can imagine I was upset, and I’m a 48-year-old adult. But in the back of my mind, I didn’t know that it’s a drill.”

Following the drill, teachers showed students a video and talked about the incident. To Sandoval, the dramatic drill helped ensure that both teachers and students are ready should such a situation actually occur, and that it would help identify any issues that needed to be fixed in teachers' responses.

Sandoval did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s off-hours requests for comment; however, the board president sent a statement to CBS47 that read in part: “The district will be updating its active shooter training procedures and coordinating with law enforcement to improve our training effort.”

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