In what may have been a well intentioned but certainly ill-advised exercise, a college in Ontario, Canada, staged a fake school massacre last week.
The event at Sheridan College in the Toronto suburb of Oakville was described as a security practice drill and rather unfortunately featured a group of theater students splattered in stage blood pretending to be victims.
Even more ill-advisedly, they posed grinning in a group photo afterward. See the picture at right.
Since the Columbine massacre on April 20, 1999, the United States alone has seen 36 more school shootings, with 21 claiming more than one fatality (not including shooters).
“The drill that’s taking place today will have a simulated shooter on campus, a role that is being played by a (plainclothes) police officer. He will have a replica handgun that will mimic the sound of real gunfire. It will be shooting blanks,” explained the school’s spokesperson, Christine Szustaczek, prior to the event.
Perhaps cognizant that it had made a huge public relations blunder, the school later ordered the student newspaper’s web site to remove photos and video of the simulation.
“Although the video and photo gallery of students wearing fake blood and wounds were clearly labelled as ‘staged’ or part of the ‘mockdown,’ college officials feared they might be disturbing to some local residents, parents and students and may negatively affect the college’s image,” the student paper reported.
Police said that security drills are conducted on an annual basis at schools in the region, but the Sheridan drill was the first time that “theatre arts students” have been used to play the role of massacre victims.
Though they were grinning afterward, the exercise was not a comfortable one for the students who took part.
“It was super crazy. It was kind of a stressful experience once you got down there,” student Quinn Dooley told a local newspaper that ran coverage of the event. “The floor was really cold so I was shaking.”
SOURCES: Oakville Beaver, Toronto Globe And Mail, Canada.com, Statistic Brain