FRESNO, CA (KSEE/CNN) – A superintendent in a California school is defending his actions after he allowed a janitor to wear a mask, hold a fake gun, and run around campus acting like he was an active shooter.
The incident happened at Raisin City Elementary School just before the the summer break.
Superintendent Juan Sandoval says it was a drill.
But teachers and parents of students, who had no idea it would happen, say it went too far.
Kim Copper is a teacher at the school. She says, “I though this might not really be a drill, and what am I going to do.”
Copper says in her 22-year career as a teacher she has never gone through anything like this.
She says, “I love these students and I don’t know what I can do. I thought wow, am I going to go down like this, out at Raisin City School.”
Copper says she and her students tried to stay quiet and gathered together in a corner of the classroom.
“All of a sudden someone came pounding on the door and trying to open it,” says Copper.
She adds the kids were terrified.
Copper says, “I had one boy, he was trying to be very quiet about it but he was sobbing. You can imagine I was upset and I’m a 48 year old adult. But in the back of my mind I didn’t know that it’s a drill. I think my goodness this can really be happening.”
Thankfully it was not real.
But is dressing a janitor with a mask, fake gun and terrifying your staff and kids going to far?
Raisin City School Superintendent, Juan Sandoval responded, “No, I don’t think it was wrong. It was a drill. Because usually these drills become routine to students and we wanted to make sure this was realistic.”
Sandoval says after the drill, all teachers shared a video to the kids and talked about the incident.
He says it was to better prepare everyone.
But Sandoval admits the teachers and students were told nothing.
CBS47 asked Sandoval, “What about the emotional strain you put the students and teachers through?”
Sandoval says, “Well when it’s a real situation, it’s worst than that. The teachers and students need to know this is reality.”
Sandoval add he’s never heard a single complaint from any parent.
He says the drill help him and his office staff identify issues that need to be fixed.
CBS47 asked, “The drill was just so realistic, that many are afraid anything could have happened. Someone could have had a heart attack? Someone could have driven by and pulled out a gun to help the students? They were so scared.”
Sandoval says, “that’s a good thing.”
CBS47 contacted the Raisin City School Board. The board president sent a statement in response. In part it reads,
“The district will be updating it’s active shooter training procedures and coordinating with law enforcement to improve our training effort.”Raisin City School Board President
Bottom line, there will be no more janitors running around the school in masks, carrying guns.