School shooting drill goes awry

Armed man burst into classroom; students and professor didn't know it was a security drill


'Factor in the safety'

Will Morehead of EnviroSafe Inc., a private company in Mebane that specializes in planning and evaluating emergency response, said he could not speak in detail about the ECSU drill without knowing details of how it was carried out. But he said there should be safeguards in place to protect participants.

"The realism needs to be there, but you need to factor in the safety," he said.

John Pierce of Bristol, Va., a spokesman for a pro-gun Internet group called OpenCarry.org, said the university's drill was poorly planned and dangerous. He said people in the class could have been killed or injured trying to escape or could have harmed the role player.

He called for the state to make it legal for individuals to carry firearms for self-defense. He said North Carolina is one of 16 states that make it a crime for people to carry firearms on campuses.

University Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist said in a prepared statement that the drill was a learning experience. He said the university needed to increase the usual scope of scenarios, which generally involve hurricanes, tropical storms and evacuations.

"Unfortunately we learned lessons from frightened students that result when live scenarios are carried out," he said in a news release. "However, we want our campus to be ready in case of such an event."

Copyright (c) 2008, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.