Originally published April 27 2015
Teacher sues school district after cruel school shooting drill left her with PTSD
by P.A. Watson
(NaturalNews) If experiencing the Sandy Hook incident was not traumatic enough for faculty, consider how an Oregon teacher might feel having a gun pointed at her after a live role-play of the Sandy Hook incident that she was not aware was taking place.
Two years ago, teacher Linda McLean was sitting at her desk at Pine Eagle Charter School in Halfway, Oregon, when a man dressed in black and wearing goggles burst into her classroom. He pointed a gun in her face and pulled the trigger. With the sound of gunfire and smoke lingering, the gunman declared her dead and left the room.
Even though this was an active shooter drill conducted during an in-service day at school, McLean was visibly shaken and left wondering if she was really shot and was going to die. She even went through the heavy emotions that one might go through when preparing to die, including anger that she would not be around to help her newly pregnant daughter take care of her baby.
Thankfully, McLean was perfectly safe from any real shooter or the damage that could have occurred when being confronted by one, but the effects of what was perceived as a real incident by McLean have reportedly left her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result of this injustice, McLean has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses the school district's safety officer, school administrators, and seven members of the school board of civil assault, emotional distress, false imprisonment, failing to protect her and supervise the staff, and depriving her of liberty without due process.
McLean wasn't the only person who suffered as a result of this highly questionable drill. Several classrooms were the subjects of this exercise, which left one teacher's arm injured in the perceived battle and another scared enough to wet her pants. Amongst the panic and confusion, McLean wondered if she was supposed to pick up the pistol and shoot it at someone.
Thankfully, school officials had some sense and notified the Baker County Sheriff's Office prior to the incident so they wouldn't respond in case any of the school staff placed an emergency call. The sheriff's office also reviewed concealed-carry permits prior to the drill to ensure that none of the teachers would fire back at Shawn Thatcher (the school district's safety officer) and John Minarich (vice chair of the district's school board), who played the armed shooters.
Many people are left wondering how this exercise would prepare teachers for such an attack in the future. What benefit was gained from this staged incident, especially with no children to manage and protect? In the end, the only result was angry and confused teachers who felt their safety was held in complete disregard.
McLean, who has worked for the school district since 1982, was diagnosed by her physician with PTSD and is now seeking economic damages from the involuntary separation from her employment, her medical and psychological treatment, and the loss of her retirement contributions and fringe benefits. In addition, she is also seeking punitive damages and attorney fees.
In an American society that has been littered with shooter incidents and with the war on terror still firmly seated in the back of people's minds, one might like to think that common sense would kick in and school officials would have considered how this drill could potentially cause undue angst and even mental injury. Unfortunately, that foresight was regrettably absent in school district officials.
Ironically, the school is now on the defensive and has to negotiate their way out of an awkward situation. Hopefully, they will use more tact in this real-life situation.
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