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Vt. police apologize after mock shooting during high school field trip at PD

Burlington PD stated the demonstration was meant to depict a robbery scenario, pre-approved by the school; The PD apologized to students “upset by the scenario”


The Burlington, Vermont, Police Department issued an apology on Thursday, June 6, 2024, after staging a mock mass shooting during a high school field trip.(Dreamstime/TNS)


By David Matthews
New York Daily News

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Burlington, Vermont, Police Department issued an apology on Thursday after staging a mock mass shooting during a high school field trip.

The ordeal terrorized the students and even left some injured, according to local outlet Seven Days.

The incident took place Wednesday at the Burlington police station as roughly 20 students were watching a presentation on how detectives solve crimes, when suddenly they heard screams from behind them.

A masked gunman then burst into the room and started firing fake rounds, leading the teens to duck for cover as loud gunshot noises filled the room.

The students said they were not told about drill beforehand.

“I’m shaking and crying because I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna get shot.’ It felt so real,” one Burlington High School student told Seven Days, adding that she texted her mother, believing she was on the verge of being killed.

Another student scraped her knee while diving for cover.

The students said they eventually realized the incident was fake when they noticed the cops in the room weren’t trying to stop the shooter.

In an email sent to parents, teachers said they didn’t know the drill would happen abruptly without warning. They added the officers had assured them they’d performed the drill — which they wanted to be “as realistic as possible” — before with college students and adults.

“The detectives did apologize after they realized that the reenactment did not translate well to high school students,” the teachers wrote.

On Thursday, the police department told Seven Days the “realistic demonstration” was meant to depict a robbery scenario and be part of a lesson on witness fallibility. They added the school district had approved the drill ahead of time.

However, the department apologized to any students “who were upset by the specific scenario and crime scene portion of the presentation.”

“I’m baffled,” one outraged mother told the outlet. “It is a very real threat to kids these days to have a school shooting.”

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