Burlington police apologize for ‘mock shooting’ drill that left students ‘shaking and crying’

Police in Burlington, Vermont, released an apology Thursday after performing a “mock shooting” drill that one student said left her “shaking and crying.”

During a presentation to Burlington High students at the city’s police headquarters, officers role-played a robbery, with a person running into the room with a mask and gunshot noises amplified in the room.

In the statement, the police emphasized they communicated with the school district what the demonstration would look like and the use of fake firearms they were planning to use.

“’Do you think that sort of incident would be ok for your group of students? It is about as real life as you can get, and is certainly exactly the sort of thing we deal with most frequently,” police asked the school officials, according to the statement.

“YES Program staff responded, ‘I think these students will be fine with this simulation. We will give a heads up to parents and students,'” the statement continued.

But some students believed the shooting was real, with one anonymously telling local outlet Seven Days they scraped their knee diving to the ground when they heard the fake gunshots.

“I’m shaking and crying because I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna get shot,’” another student anonymously told the outlet. “It felt so real.”

The police apologized to “any students in attendance who were upset by the specific scenario and crime scene portion of the presentation.”

A school district official told VTDigger school administrators had been aware that a reenactment would occur, but “didn’t realize the presentation would happen without warning.”

The Hill has reached out to the school district for comment.

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