May 14 2007
06:14 pm

If someone were to "fake" a gun attack on me, I'd call it assault.

If I were a sixth grade student at Murfreesboro City Schools, their administration would call it "a prank," or what some are calling a "character building exercise."


Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Some parents said they were upset by the staff's poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.

Wow. Sounds like a bad idea that came off even worse when it was, um, "executed."

Parental notification would have at least been a good start here, but apparently these sadists would rather apologize than ask permission. Wouldn't want to "spoil the surprise."

UPDATE: Two officials suspended for two weeks without pay:

Teacher Quentin Mastin and assistant principal Don Bartch were suspended for unprofessional conduct and neglect of duty because of the staged attack...

R. Neal's picture

If someone were to "fake" a

If someone were to "fake" a gun attack on me, I'd call it assault.

I'd also call it terrorism.

Andy Axel's picture

A point well taken

"Pranks" are simply running wild all over the world.

Torture of prisoners, e.g.

(Calling something like this a "prank" would only raise my interest more. What kind of school plays any sort of practical jokes on its students?)


Georgia's in Florida, dumbass!

JaHu's picture

They should arrest everyone

They should arrest everyone involved.

Adrift in the Sea of Humility

R. Neal's picture

This reminded me of this,

This reminded me of this, from the SKB archives, 6/13/2003:

The events described in this Maryville Daily Times article are OUTRAGEOUS beyond comprehension. The perpetrators are being sued for $2 million by notorious Knoxville lawyer Herb Moncier (who I have instructed Mrs. Bubba to hire immediately if I ever get in trouble). I hope he wins, but it sounds to me like criminal prosecutions are also warranted. You really should go read the whole thing, but here are the pertinent details:

  • A $2 million lawsuit has been filed in Blount County Circuit Court against Forest Hill Baptist Church, the pastor, the youth director, two deacons and several other church members.
  • The suit claims the girl suffered personal injuries as the result of "a dangerous, cult-like event that was unlawfully and deceptively conceived, sponsored, promoted and supervised by Forest Hill Baptist Church, its pastor, its deacons, its youth director and several of its members."
  • Forest Hill Pastor Harry Sherrer said the event was designed to help young people learn about and better understand the persecution of Christians in other parts of the world. The youth director planned the event after reading about a program called "Undergrond Church"
  • The suit alleges the nature of the event was intentionally misrepresented to induce the girl to participate and the father (who says he was told it was a "car wash") to allow her to do so.
  • According to the suit, the event began at the home of one of the other church members where the youth director gave them instructions involving secret codes and stealth-like activities they would have to complete to make their way to the "worship service".
  • The girl "became concerned" when she saw law enforcement vehicles with their lights and sirens on, the person driving the group let them out and they were told to "sneak the back way'' to the church fellowship hall.
  • The group was accosted by "men dressed in dark clothes" but reached the fellowship hall where the lights were out and the adult who greeted them appeared to be crying. They began reading Bible passages by flashlight, heard "gunshots'' outside, hid between some cupboards, then "several men dressed as soldiers with gas masks on" came in.
  • Group members were blindfolded and handcuffed with Velcro, "dragged out'' to the parking lot and told to climb in the back of a truck. According to the suit, the victim fought back and pleaded to be let go but was laughed and yelled at by one of her alleged captors.
  • She managed to escape but was grabbed again, blindfolded and handcuffed with metal cuffs which caused her to cry out in pain. She was allegedly lifted and put in the truck, then driven to another location, and lined up with the other youth group members.
  • The group was then told there would be "one chance to deny Christ, or you will be killed." The victim refused to deny Christ, there was the sound of a gunshot and she was soaked with water.
  • then she began "screaming and crying" before being told to go inside the residence of another church member.

  • There, she pleaded to have her handcuffs removed but several people acted as if they could not find the key. Once the cuffs were finally taken off, the girl's wrists were "cut and bleeding, throbbing and swollen to nearly twice their normal size." She was finally taken to another residence and allowed to call her mother to come get her.
  • The suit claims the girl suffered "serious, painful and permanent injuries" including injuries to her wrists which are "permanently scarred" and aggravation of her pre-existing knee injuries. She also allegedly sustained "serious, severe and permanent mental and emotional injuries" causing her to continue to suffer "mental pain and anguish," sleeplessness and recurring nightmares.
  • The church pastor said the only complaint he has heard about the event has come from the victim's family. Other participants described it as "pretty powerful and very positive".
  • JaHu's picture

    "from the SKB archives"

    "from the SKB archives"

    That is unbelievable, and It's shocking to me that I don't even remember hearing about the ordeal. These people are still walking the streets?

    Adrift in the Sea of Humility

    Anonymous's picture

    Forest Hill Baptist Church Sued for $ 2 million

    What was the outcome of this suit?

    A $2 million lawsuit has been filed in Blount County Circuit Court against Forest Hill Baptist Church, the pastor, the youth director, two deacons and several other church members.

    Ennui's picture

    I remember that weird event

    I remember that weird event being reported. Goodness.

    This school trip incident is deplorable. Someone really dropped the ball. WTF?

    Geckofile's picture

    from what i have heard 2

    from what i have heard 2 folks have been fired after this, but i agree all should be fired, ...

    if this happened to my children..... immediate home-schooling, the only reason i dont now, is the wife thinks that state sponsored propagan..........errr edumacation is what they need, and they need to mingle with these other kids.... i dont see why they cant do that while learning at home... bah!!

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    Andy Axel's picture


    In Tennessee, for "neglect of duty" where sixth grade children are concerned, you get two weeks off without pay.

    Just in time for summer vacation.


    Georgia's in Florida, dumbass!

    Carole Borges's picture

    This is horrific!

    You can damage a sensitive kid forever with this kind of stunt. Two weeks suspension? Hell, kids get more than that for being a smart-butt in class. These people should not be allowed near children. They have the mind-set of perverts because they think scaring the heck out of kids is okay. This is the kind of antic that makes you want to be sure no public money goes to faith-based programs. Radical extremists can believe "teaching" whatever they think kids should learn the hard way can outweigh normal, responsible, and sensitive limits. They are as harsh as the Islmasts who desire Shira Law. Those poor kids! I hope someone gave them counselling afterwards.

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