Meadowlawn Elementary School via Facebook

In January, 30 teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana participated in an active shooter drill conducted by the White County Sheriff’s Department, and “left with bruises, welts, and in some cases bloody and broken skin”1 thanks to being shot multiple times with plastic pellets.

“The incident came to light when Gail Zeheralis, a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), testified about it before state lawmakers on Wednesday, while urging them to amend a school safety bill to prohibit the firing of projectiles during active shooter drills.”1

During the drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a small room, told to turn around and crouch down, and then rapidly shot in the back three or four times with plastic pellets from an airsoft gun, essentially, “execution style.” The resulting injuries were so bad that some had welts and some were bleeding.

“The teachers were instructed not to tell the others what had happened inside the room, and the sheriff’s department did not warn any of the participants about what was going to happen, according to the ISTA.

Other teachers waiting outside the room could hear screaming from inside, before they were brought into the room and shot at.”1

One teacher reportedly told the Indianapolis Star that the sheriff’s officials who were conducting the drill told the teachers, “This is what happens if you cower and do nothing.” (To date the sheriff’s department has not apologized to the teachers or shown any remorse for what had happened.) Classy.

“…the Indiana State Teachers Association said while it supports the practices that will keep teachers and students safe, it thinks the drill at Meadowlawn went too far.

‘No one in education takes these drills lightly. The risk of harming someone far outweighs whatever added realism one is trying to convey here,” said the association’s statement, calling for an amendment to a school safety bill “so that more reasonable limits are placed on these drills.”2

The White County Sheriff’s Department told the local teachers union that shooting teachers with pellets was part of the curriculum of ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate) trainings that provide “proactive response options” during violent incidents, according to the ISTA.

According to the programs Facebook page, the training is supposed to empower teachers  “to participate in their own survival in the critical time between the start of a violent event and the arrival of law enforcement.”

At her testimony before the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday, Zeheralis thanked lawmakers for House Bill 1004, but appealed to the Republican author of the bill, Rep. Wendy McNamara, to include a sentence in the bill prohibiting the practice of firing projectiles at teachers during active shooter drills.

Zeheralis said that the risk of harming someone far outweighed whatever added realism that the drill may be intended for.


  1. Buzz Feed News
  2. NBC News