A North Carolina middle school is in trouble with parents after it sent an employee dressed as a masked gunman into a classroom full of grade six students on Friday.
School officials from Eastern Wayne Middle School in Wayne County, N. C., claim the employee was pretending to be an armed robber by wearing a mask and holding a toy gun as part of an "enrichment exercise" to teach students to be aware of their surroundings.
But parents of the students questioned the school's judgement -- especially in light of recent school shootings -- and when complaints started rolling in, the school admitted their idea of a lesson might have been askew.
"It obviously did lack that sensitivity that was needed...," Ken Derksen, public information officer with Wayne County Public Schools, tells ABC. "In this situation, the exercise in its original intent was appropriate, but in how it was executed it obviously lacked judgment."
The school also sent out a letter to parents on Monday, apologizing for the event. Part of the letter follows:
As part of an enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings, another staff member entered the sixth grade classrooms and pretend to steal an item while dressed in a ski-mask and holding a toy pistol. Even though the play-acting caused some initial concerns, once the ski was completed, the teachers quickly explained who the person was and that the 'theft' was not real.
The school district says there is an ongoing investigation into the incident and that the employee who dressed as the gunman may face disciplinary action.
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