School condemned after pupils left in tears by mock shooting
Schoolchildren were left in tears after seeing one of their teachers shot down by a crazed gunman in the playground in a role-playing stunt organised by staff.

Telegraph | March 25, 2010
By Murray Wardrop

Blackminster Middle School in Evesham, Worcs, faced condemnation from parents after their children were left traumatised by the mock shooting.

The youngsters, aged between 10 and 13, thought they were taking part in a fire drill when an alarm bell rang and they were ushered out into the playground.

But they were left in terror as a man appeared brandishing a gun and appeared to shoot dead Richard Kent, their science teacher, as he ran across a field.

Following a loud bang simulating a gunshot, other staff involved in the act rushed to the teacher's aid and appeared to try to resuscitate him.

There was a delay of 10 minutes before weeping pupils were taken back to the assembly hall where teachers explained that the pretend shooting had been laid on as part of a science lesson.

But some of the children were left in shock with some being sick and one girl suffering a panic attack, parents claim.

The school was forced to apologise to parents, admitting that the stunt on Tuesday afternoon had gone “too far” and that pupils should have had their fears allayed sooner.

Vikki Woosey, whose son is in Year 6 at the school, said: "They were standing in the playground, and then a man appeared in the distance holding a gun.

"Then their teacher dropped to the ground and the teaching assistants ran over.

"They start doing CPR on the teacher and then the man ran into the school and supposedly trashed the science lab. It left some of the pupils terrified."

Another parent, who has a 11-year-old daughter at the school, added: "There were kids in tears – they thought their teacher had been shot.

"It was 10 minutes later that they told the children that it wasn't real, and that it was all a joke. I think its absolutely disgusting."

Another 33-year-old, who has a stepdaughter at the school, added: “It is beyond belief and totally inappropriate.

“Pupils were missing the bus home because they were consoling each other and being sick in the lavatories. Another girl had a panic attack."

The school said it had learned lessons from the incident and apologised to pupils left upset. It said the role-playing exercise had been intended to teach Year 8 pupils how to investigate, collect facts and analyse evidence.

Head teacher Terry Holland said: "The role play was part of a science lesson where a selection of students and teachers acted out this scenario.

"The problem with a small minority of the pupils was that there was a slight delay in getting them back into the hall to explain what had just happened.

"Most of them already knew it was a spoof but a couple of them were upset and we have since spoken to them and their parents and apologised to them.

"It was one of the more popular teachers who played the victim, I don't think there would have been as much concern if it was one or two of the others."

In a letter to parents, the school said: "We have reflected on the matter and now feel that the time delay was too long and pupils should have been reassured instantly to allay their concern.

"I wish to apologise for any upset the role play may have caused. It was an original idea but one that went too far.”