Truth Beyond Satire: School Sends Fake Gunman into Classrooms

October 16, 2013; Progressive Populist


Who needs satire when you have real news? Try this: A middle school in Goldsboro, N.C., mounted an unusual “enrichment exercise” to teach the sixth-graders to be aware of their surroundings. The school administration sent someone wearing a ski mask into classrooms with a toy gun, pretending to rob the kids. An unnamed school administrator interviewed on camera by WGHP News said that the idiotic stunt “in its original intent was appropriate, but how it was executed obviously lacked judgment.” Ya think?

In the wake of multiple school shootings across the nation, it is not difficult to imagine the traumatized reactions of some of the Eastern Wayne Middle School pupils. Fortunately, as noted by Progressive Populist, no teacher pulled out a concealed weapon and shot ski-mask-man, which would have been a new threshold of student enrichment.

Far-fetched? Not if the National Rifle Association has its way. Remember, the NRA believes that more guns in schools will help protect students. The NRA’s report this spring called for arming and training teachers and other school personnel.

Although the numbers vary, the expert reports are consistent in showing that living in a home where there are guns present increases the risk of homicide by 40 percent and suicide by 90 percent. Imagine the impacts of having guns in jackets, holsters, or back pockets of school teachers and administrators.

The Goldsboro pupils just had their enrichment experience with the idea of guns in the classroom. Judgment on the part of the school? Nonexistent. Lesson taught by the school? Trauma.—Rick Cohen

  • Scott Walter

    Rick, you’re less fair-minded than usual here. You have two links re the NRA’s report about guns in schools, but neither link is to the report itself, and only one of the two news articles bothers to link to the report.

    The report makes a serious, well-footnoted argument and is available at

    You also don’t acknowledge that the NRA is by no means the only source for this argument. E.g., the head of the St. Louis Police Department made the same argument to the local CBS station after Newtown:

    Lastly, the claims for increased risk of homicide & suicide are also highly debatable. E.g., this refereed journal article by a leading conservative debunker:

    That scholarly article is a decade old, so here’s a recent journalism piece by the same author, using the latest available CDC stats:

    And lest you think only conservatives have noticed the reality that efforts to take guns out of homes doesn’t make people safer, let me point out that Public Health Law Research, a Temple University center funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, declares flatly: “Although [Child Access Prevention] laws may represent a promising intervention for reducing gun-related morbidity and mortality among children … there is currently insufficient evidence to validate their effectiveness as a public health intervention aimed at reducing gun-related harms.” See

    Most importantly of all, as your fellow populist, I challenge you to walk around dangerous neighborhoods where poor people live and ask law-abiding families whether they believe they will be safer if their guns are taken from them. I trust law-abiding poor people to handle weapons honorably, and I believe the statistics bear me out.

  • Ashley G

    This school system needs to take a course on research study best practices/ethics. The traumatic effect on the research subjects, in this case children and teachers, is a huge part of whether to proceed with the experiment or NOT.