When Workplace Training Goes Very, Very Wrong

By Jon Hyman

Apr. 10, 2019

A few months ago I participated in active-shooter training.

I presented harassment training for a local manufacturer and at its conclusion the company played a 10-minute video explaining to its employees what to do in an active-shooter situation.

Generally I’m not a fan of training videos. They tend to be boring, poorly acted and ineffective. This one, however, was quite effective. It was not only chilling to watch, but, a few months out, I still recall the ABCs of what to do during an active shooter (Avoid, Barricade, Confront).

An Indiana school district, however, had a different idea of how to train its employees to prepare for an active shooter.

This employer had its employees shot in the back, execution style, with plastic pellets.

Vox offers the details.

Local law enforcement carried out the drill with the teachers of Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana, in January, the Indiana State Teachers Association said in a meeting with state legislators on Wednesday. The drill involved dividing the teachers into small groups and instructing them to face a classroom wall and kneel. Then, deputies with the White County Sheriff’s Office fired plastic pellets into the backs of more than 20 teachers without warning. Several teachers were injured, a representative for the district’s union said, though none have publicly come forward about the incident.

The employees’ union further detailed on Twitter the mental anguish its members suffered.

Indiana State Teachers Association@ISTAmembers

During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles – resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn.

Indiana State Teachers Association@ISTAmembers

The teachers were terrified, but were told not to tell anyone what happened. Teachers waiting outside that heard the screaming were brought into the room four at a time and the shooting process was repeated.

This is NUTS.
We all want our teachers to know how to keep our children safe in the event of an active shooter. I can’t believe I’m typing this … but mock executions are not the answer. To look at this another way, we want to end sexual harassment, but we’re not molesting our employees either.
Sometimes, a training video is all you need.
Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at

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