Was Warner Springs school shooting drill too realistic? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Was Warner Springs school shooting drill too realistic?

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WARNER SPRINGS (CBS 8) - Students in Warner Springs describe a safety drill that some parents say went too far, with a deputy posing as a school shooter and firing a cap gun to make it as realistic as possible.

At least one parent boycotted the drill by pulling her child out of school. The sheriff's department warned the parents the event would occur sometime this week, but wouldn't say on which day.

The drill everyone is talking about took place at the school's quad, and depending on who you talk to, it was either a huge success or a big mistake.

Tawnya Pitman pulled her three-year-old son out of school all week long to avoid the drill.

"Because I didn't want him to be in a classroom and become scared," she said.

Pitman's son attends the campus with 235 students from preschool through 12th grade.

Sergeant Tom Evans spent three years organizing the hour-long drill that involved 30 first responders from five agencies.

"The more realistic, the better, and to add that realism we sent a suspect onto the school grounds with a little cap gun, basically a starter pistol like something you'd see at a track meet or something to that nature," Sgt. Evans said.

Although some parents were worried the cap gun would frighten younger students, sophomore Hayley Powers didn't have a problem with a fake intruder posing as a school shooter.

"You gotta practice what you gotta practice," she said.

Superintendent Ron Kaynig says all of the students were warned and the fake shooting was kept away from the preschool.

"Almost everything during our drill today happened on the other side of the building in front of us," Kaynig said.

Julie Ihde's six-year-old wasn't aware there was fake gunfire.

"We didn't even hear it in our classroom," the student said.

"I'm glad that the students were not able to hear the gun shots. I would still pull my child out, and when they do the drill again he will not be at school," Ihde said.

Although administrators say the drill was mostly a success, they admit some mistakes were made. Another drill will be scheduled next spring.

The sheriff's department has staged similar drills at numerous high schools across the county. Deputies say they didn't want to scare the students, but add that the tactics learned Wednesday could save lives in the future.

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