Teachers at a high school in Maryland were required to attend a lockdown training presentation where they were shown a graphic video of what they said appeared to be students being shot in the Columbine High School massacre.
The principal of Laurel High School showed raw security video and played frantic 911 calls during a mandatory teacher training on Friday, upset teachers said and the school district confirmed.
A number of teachers told News4 they felt blindsided by the screening of the horrific video.
“There were faculty members that got up and left in the middle of the video showing because they were crying. It was so, so upsetting,” one teacher, who asked to speak on condition on anonymity, said.
Teachers said the surveillance video showed part of the 1999 high school shooting in Colorado, in which two students killed 12 fellow students and one teacher before turning their guns on themselves and dying by suicide.
“The assailants were taunting the kids to get the kids to get up and run, and when the kids ran away, the assailants were shooting them,” the teacher said the video showed.
The teachers said they did not know they would be shown the video, which the school’s security team created.
“If you’re going to do this and you want to do this properly, you say, ‘We are going to show you this. If you do not feel comfortable with this, you are welcome to leave,'” a teacher said.
The teachers spoke on condition of anonymity in order to protect their jobs.
The principal sent a letter apologizing if he offended anyone but said he felt it was important to make the realities of school shootings clear.
“The goal was to hopefully get everyone in the mindset that situations like Columbine and other school shootings are prevalent and relevant in our society today and that the safety of all should be the number one goal for all of us,” he wrote.
The teachers were shown the video less than a month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and amid a highly charged national conversation about arming teachers.