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Police apologize for ‘mock shooting’ that left high school students terrified

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(BURLINGTON, Vt.) — Police in Burlington, Vermont have apologized after high school students were left terrified Wednesday by a “mock shooting” that they did not know was staged.


The drill – in which officers simulated “a robbery scenario” that included fake firearms – took place at the Burlington Police Department (BPD) station as part of Burlington High School’s year-end studies program focused on criminal justice, the BPD said in a statement.

Police said they issued the statement after learning of an unspecified social media post “made by a student who was not in attendance for the presentation but who may have known someone who attended and was reportedly upset.”

In their statement, the BPD apologized to “any students in attendance who were upset by the specific scenario and crime scene portion of the presentation,” which they said “involved three department personnel simulating a robbery scenario and was not directed at any students or faculty.”

Police also said they asked school officials as recently as May 23 if they could stage the training drill, saying it would involve “using fake firearms in a mock shooting,” according to the statement.

“Do you think that sort of incident would be OK for your group of students? It is about as real life as you can get, and is certainly exactly the sort of thing we deal with most frequently,” the BPD said they told school program staff, according to the statement.

The statement further said that school officials responded “I think these students will be fine with this simulation,” and that they would “give a heads up to parents and students.”

The statement concludes by saying the Burlington Police Department had contacted school officials and would meet with Burlington High School students and staff on Friday “to discuss the presentation and its impact. We hope that this can be a reflective growth opportunity for all parties.”

Neither Burlington High School nor Burlington School District officials immediately responded to an ABC News request for comment.

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