Administrators at school for disabled children stage a fake school shooting without telling all the teachers and students
“We really thought we were not going home that night,” one teacher said. “It was probably the worst feeling I ever had in my life.”Less than a week after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., a lockdown exercise on Tuesday morning at Public School 79 in East Harlem caused alarm, as not everyone understood there was to be a drill.
P.S. 79, the Horan School, serves 300 students with special needs, including those with severe emotional disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy and other disorders. The students range in age from 12 to 21, one staff member said.The lockdown drill began about 10 a.m. on Tuesday with a woman’s voice on the school’s loudspeaker saying, “ ‘Shooter,’ or ‘intruder,’ and ‘get out, get out, lockdown,’ ” said the staff member, who added that it seemed so realistic that it was hard to tell if the woman speaking was actually talking to a gunman or to teachers and students throughout the school.At 10:01 a.m., a woman dialed 911 from her cellphone and said she had heard a message over the loudspeaker “that there was an intruder in the school, and that she was in the class with her students,” said a Police Department spokeswoman.Officers from the 25th Precinct station house responded, she said. When they arrived a minute later, school officials told them that it was just a drill.