Feel the Devil Walking Next To Me

Well, sometimes you read a story, whistle to yourself and say, “Paint me red and call me Mortimer. That fella’s lost the plot.” School Safety Drill Upsets Some Parents is such a story and David Britten is that dim fella.

WYOMING, Mich. (AP) – A school safety drill that included police officers in riot gear with weapons has caused concern among some parents who say it was too realistic and frightened some students. Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported. Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.

“Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants,” said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. “I think it’s pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this.” Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles that were unloaded and marked with colored tape to indicate they were not live weapons, the newspaper said. Diana Silva, a parent of an eighth-grade student, said the drill went too far.

“My child was with his face to the wall in the hallway of the high school,” Silva said. “I certainly don’t want anything like this happening to my child.”

I’ve written a handful of times about stupid grownups acting more childishly than children, but I can only find one at the moment. Plus, during the search I read July and August 2005, when my miserable life was especially hilarious. But let’s meet our new Special Friend.

Principal David Britten said students weren’t told ahead of time to make the drill as realistic as possible. Teachers were informed moments before it took place, he said.

“I think this is the best way to do it,” Britten said. “We’re not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency.”

David, David, David! You have a problem with verbs. For instance, when you say, “I think this is the best way to do it,” the people on the outside of your head understand you’re thinking this was a riot – the funny kind – and you’re going to do it again. That’s not all, David, because you use more verbs. “We’re not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency” indicates to the people – again, the ones outside your head – that you have a common problem: you can’t tell the difference between your intentions and your actions. On TV, people say to one another all the time “I didn’t mean to hurt you” or “I didn’t mean to drive your car off the train bridge” or “I didn’t mean to imply by marrying you that I like you any less” when what they mean is, “Shut up. I do what I want.” And that’s exactly what those of us who aren’t tinhorn despots like you hear now: Shut up. I do what I want.

But Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody said his officers were not aware students and parents were not told. He said his department will mandate that parents be notified ahead of time in the future.

“The purpose was to show how we will evacuate the classroom, not to assault the classroom,” Carmody said.

I’d consider evacuating my children, were they in David Britten’s care, because armed men terrorizing my children are armed men terrorizing my children, no matter what their intentions. There’s no excuse for it, and there’s no excuse for refusing to see that this damages children. The kids have learned that they cannot trust the stupid adults to protect them, especially not from the other stupid, armed adults. So what was the point? It was for David Britten to play toy soldiers with real guns, to establish dominance over the chimera in his head.

Were I a member of the school board on the outside of this guy’s head, I’d make sure David Britten heard my call for his immediate dismissal.

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