School officials in Polk County, Florida, have suspended the principal of the middle school that hosted a controversial unannounced "active shooter" drill by local police last Thursday, freaking out students, parents, and teachers who thought the drill was a real attack by a maniac with an AR-15.
Students called and texted their parents in terror during the incident, with some saying that a police officer responding to the "threat" busted into their classrooms with his loaded pistol drawn.
The Lakeland Ledger reports that Jacquelyn Moore, who has helmed the Jewett Middle Academy for the past two years, was suspended by the school district while an investigation into the drill is conducted:
"I very much regret that this occurred," Superintendent of Schools Kathryn LeRoy said Tuesday evening during a School Board meeting...
From now on, she said, officers will not carry weapons during such practice; administrators should send a message to parents at the beginning of the drill and let students know a drill is taking place; and staff members should be on hand at the school entrance and answering phones to let callers know the lockdown is just a drill.
"The district's Department of Safe Schools requested routine lockdown drills at schools beginning last month," the Ledger reported LeRoy as saying, "but the district never requested active-shooter drills and didn't know officers would have weapons in their hands."
It's unclear how the school district's new rules will go over with the local police chief, who told journalists after the incident that he thought it was important "that, when you do your drill, you do it without everyone knowing that it's a drill."
[AP photo: Lt. Greg Gallant, of the Methuen, Mass. police department, portrays an active shooter as he roams the halls of a school with an assault rifle, loaded with dummy rounds, during a demonstration Tuesday, Nov. 11.]