Burlington, Vermont Police Apologize For Unannounced Mass Shooting Simulation

Screen capture by Boch via YouTube

The world can be a scary place. Sadly some Americans prefer to practice denial when it comes to crime and criminal attacks. That denial of reality apparently helps them cope. Other more prudent Americans opt instead to recognize potential threats and do what they can to mitigate them ahead of time. By taking proactive steps, prudent people can do their best to avoid crimals, being victimized and finding themselves in bad situations.

In Burlington, Vermont, a year-end program for high school students students visiting the local police department included an unscheduled simulation of a mass casualty incident. It unfolded without warning or notice to the 20 students who were there. Police used fake firearms and role-players displaying simulated gunshot wounds to add to the authenticity of the exercise to demonstrate how unreliable human witnesses can be.

Besides surprising the students with the “demonstration,” the coordinators made the entire exercise a little too realistic. The real-life training experience reportedly left some of the participating students “scared and confused,” not to mention terrified.

From MyNBC5:

The Burlington Police Department has issued an apology to students following a controversial high school presentation that involved a mock shooting.

Department officials released a statement on Thursday about a recent presentation given to Burlington High School students who were part of the Year End Studies, or YES, program.

According to police, the presentation utilized fake firearms to simulate a shooting.

The Burlington School District said that about 20 students in a Forensics program witnessed a “realistic demonstration” during their trip to the Burlington Police Department on Wednesday in which members of the department enacted a crime involving a shooting.

“While the gun was fake, the enactment involved screaming and fake gunshot sounds, taking place without warning and behind where students were seated. As a result, some students believed the demonstration was real and were left feeling scared and confused,” a letter sent to families in the Burlington School District details.

BSD school officials said that teachers were aware that a demonstration of a gunshot-related crime might occur because the point of the presentation was to prove how witness statements can be unreliable.

“We didn’t realize the demonstration would happen without warning or a chance to properly prepare students to understand what would be taking place,” school officials said…

Here’s where the school will offer “mental health support” for those who were traumatized by the demonstration.

“We take our responsibility to keep students safe very seriously, and we are deeply sorry that this event occurred,” school officials said. “We understand the impact this incident may have had on the mental health and well-being of students, and we let parents and students know that staff in both our counseling and mental health support offices will be able to provide support tomorrow if needed.”

The real world doesn’t give warnings before bad guys attack and neither do bad people with evil in their hearts. If the Burlington School District’s educational products need counseling after exposure to a simulation of things that can happen in the real world, their curriculum needs to be revamped with less emphasis on feelings and emotions and more on facts, logic and scientific method.

Lastly, one lesson of the simulated attack apparently sailed right over the heads of the 20 students: the only things that stop bad people with evil in their hearts is a good guy or gal with a gun.

10 Responses

  1. “Burlington, Vermont Police Apologize For Unannounced Mass Shooting Simulation”

    They are damn lucky an armed citizen didn’t drop the ‘actor’ playing the mass-shooter…

  2. In the military, such “exercises” are prefaced by clear statements “THIS IS A DRILL”, so people know not to react literally.

    1. This is not true in the submarine force, at least as of the late 1980s. The rationale is that the crew would not resound as fast or effectively if it was announced beforehand to be a drill.

      1. That wasn’t my experience in the late ’80s US Navy submarine force. It wasn’t officially announced…but everyone knew there was a drill set about to start.

        The entire point of that evolution was to practice for when SHTF…so when it really happened, you’d react both quickly and correctly.

      2. These school kids are civilians, not policemen or soldiers. They didn’t sign up to be terrorized. Somehow this has totally escaped Mr Boch’s consciousness.

        All the School Teachers and School Officials responsible should be fired forthwith.
        All members of the Police Department responsible should be fired, starting with the Chief of Police.
        Both the fired Police and Teachers/School Officials should be replaced by experienced by qualified experinced good people with carefully examined records who are from outside Burlington.
        Parents of the school kids should be engaging lawyers, and the suit should be for more than $10 Million per student.

        Traumatizing people is not undone, ever. Ever,
        No counseling, especially under the aegis of this school is satisfactory. The city of Burlington is at end, responsible for the damage to these kids, and owes them lifetime psychological therapy cover from therapists of their choice. But the scarring will be there, and more so as the decades pile on.

        I spent 4 years in war from 65 to 68. Then and for decades after, I shook it off as though it was nothing. Now 56 years later, I wake up screaming, struck by the nightmares of war. Just like my father did, in his 80s, when he screamed in anger and pain dreaming of his comrades screaming to him for help, who he could not save.

        It seems to me that Mr Boch has not been in a shooting war. The conclusions he comes to are ineffably without thought and his words are those of a smug superior puffed up windbag. He should not be writing for shootingnewsweekly, till he does a few years of emotional intelligence training, because he seems to have none now..
        I am disgusted that this should have happened, and disgusted with Mr Boch’s article.

      3. These kids were not volunteers, not soldiers, not trained and prepared. They was no way for them to usefully respond. They were made into traumatised victims.
        Maybe you should ponder that.

  3. That wasn’t my experience in the late ’80s US Navy submarine force. It wasn’t officially announced…but everyone knew there was a drill set about to start.

    The entire point of that evolution was to practice for when SHTF…so when it really happened, you’d react both quickly and correctly.

    1. It seems to have escaped you that these kids didn’t volunteer to be terrified and terrorized. They are not soldiers. They are not submariners.
      They had no way to react, no Fight or Flight response or training to prepare them, to avail themselves of.

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