(AP) - A group of teachers at a northern Indiana elementary school who were
struck and injured last year by plastic pellets during an active shooter
training drill are suing local police, accusing them of using excessive
force during what the lawsuit calls the “Execution Style Drill.”
lawsuit, filed last week by eight teachers who taught at Meadowlawn
Elementary School in Monticello at the time of the January 2019 incident,
names as defendants the White County Sheriff’s Department, four deputies and
the department’s current and former sheriff.
It claims the
deputies shot at the teachers with airsoft guns, striking them the plastic
pellets that left bruising, bleeding, welts, and broken skin, and also
subjected them to “verbal threats, expletives, and screaming.”
Two of the eight
teachers said they left teaching after the incident, which attracted
national attention months later when the Indiana State Teachers Association
testified about it before Indiana’s Legislature during a committee meeting.
One of them was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and continues
to take prescription medication, the suit states.
Plaintiff, the Execution Style Drill was one of the most terrifying
experiences of her life. Immobilized by fear and the physical force of the
bullets pinning them down, participants could not turn around. Doing so
would have exposed them to shots in the face and shots at even closer
range,” according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Lafayette.
which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, claims officers used
excessive force, committed assault and battery, intentionally inflicted
emotional distress and subjected teachers to unreasonable seizure and false
It states that on
Jan. 4, 2019, teachers arrived at the school in Monticello, about halfway
between Chicago and Indianapolis, anticipating a professional development
day. They were instead separated into small groups and told by sheriff’s
deputies to line up facing a wall and kneel.
An officer then
shot the teachers across their backs at “point-blank range” as officers
yelled threats and expletives at them, one officer yelling “I’m going to
kill you all!” the suit contends.
Later that day, it
contends the teachers were subject to a series of drills in which they were
instructed to hide in classrooms, try to barricade doors from potential
intruders and to throw tennis balls at the officers. During those drills,
officers also shot the teachers with the airsoft guns.
Eight teachers out
of about 35 that were present for the training have signed on to the
lawsuit, The Indianapolis Star reported.
attorney, George Loy, said Wednesday that the county does not comment on
The Indiana State
Teachers Association, which represents the involved teachers, said it wants
to prevent other teachers from enduring a similar incident.
“We do not believe
that a school or trainer should conduct any kind of active shooter training
drill that includes the firing of any type of projectile at an employee or a
student,” said ISTA President Keith Gambill.