A teacher and an assistant principal at a Murfreesboro, Tenn., elementary school have been suspended without pay for the rest of the school year for a prank in which sixth graders on a sleepover trip were told that a gunman was prowling nearby and were ordered to hide in silence. School leaders usually pull a prank on the students during the weeklong sixth-grade trip, typically a spine-chilling ghost story, and the 69 children had been told to expect one this year. But on the trip’s final night, a teacher told the children that a park ranger had warned that there was a gunman roving the park, and that they should take cover.
Click here to read The New York Times article.
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EARLIER: Some parents of children at Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are outraged that teachers acted out a scenario that ended up terrifying many of 69 sixth-grade students on a field trip. The parents say the "prank" was especially inappropriate in light of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. The students were told there were armed subjects in the area and to take precautions. Accounts of the story varied from parent to parent, but according to Assistant Principal Don Bartch, students were gathered into a large, glassed-in room with double doors and were told that park rangers had contacted them, explaining that armed subjects were in the area. Students were advised to get under tables for protection if these subjects approached the area. Then the lights were turned off, and the door was closed. A teacher wearing a hooded sweatshirt pulled on a locked double door, pretending to be a suspicious subject in the area. The entire scenario lasted about five minutes, after which, the teachers gathered the students and explained it was just a joke.
Click here to read The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal article.
RELATED: A news release (no longer on the district's home page) released over the weekend from the school says, "...[T]his prank crossed the line in what would be appropriate to tell young people, especially in light of recent incidents."