Four teachers were led into a room, told to kneel and then were shot with a pellet gun “execution style” and injured during an active shooter training at an Indiana elementary school in January, according to the Indiana State Teachers Association.
The association revealed the violent training tactic, which took place at the Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, while testifying in support of House Bill 1004, which addresses school safety, before the state’s Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star published Thursday, two of the teachers injured during the fake execution said local law enforcement, which was facilitating the training, told them to kneel against a wall in a classroom. They said they were shot with plastic pellets without warning.
The teachers’ injuries in the training including welts and bleeding, the union said. About 30 teachers were involved in the training, according to BuzzFeed.
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” one teacher told IndyStar, which did not name the teachers. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times. ... It hurt so bad.”
The state teachers association said in a tweet that teachers were brought into the classroom to repeat the exercise four at a time. Teachers waiting outside heard screaming from the room, but the ones who had been shot were told “not to tell anyone what happened.”
The union is urging state lawmakers to include language in the bill that would ban schools or districts from “conducting or authorizing an active shooter drill where any school employee or student may have any type of projectile fired at their person,” ISTA Vice President Keith Gambill said in a statement Thursday.
The White County Sheriff’s Department, which conducted training at Meadowlawn Elementary School on Jan. 4, told the IndyStar that it stopped using airsoft guns during teacher training after receiving complaints.
Gambill described the use of airsoft guns during the active shooter training as “fear-based” and “injurious.”
“Educators should never have to endure being fired at with pellets in an active shooter training,” he said.
The Indiana State Teachers Association didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
House Bill 1004 seeks in part to boost mental health and emotional support services offered to students in the state’s public schools.
Schools across the U.S. have increased active shooter drills in response to the rise in mass shootings, including horrific events that took place last year at schools in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, which resulted in a total of 27 deaths.
Some active shooter drills have ended in controversy as the threat of school shootings have become more common for students. In December, school officials in Altamonte Springs, Florida, were criticized for holding an unannounced shooter drill, causing panic and confusion at the school.