Call on Penn-Trafford School District to Apologize for Racist Active Shooter Drill

Penn-Trafford School District

We are disappointed that Penn-Trafford School District would choose to conduct an active shooter drill where the shooter was portrayed as a man of Middle Eastern descent. If the intent of the drill was to simulate a school shooting, it clearly failed — as the majority of school shooters are white males. Given the statistics on the perpetrators of school shootings, the use of a head covering traditionally associated with Muslims in this drill can only be viewed as racist.

We condemn this action, and call on Penn-Trafford School District, the Penn Township Police Department and Command Excellence to apologize to students and the community.
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Greensburg, PA

To: Penn-Trafford School District
From: [Your Name]

On January 21, 2019, the Penn-Trafford School District conducted an active shooter drill in conjunction with Command Excellence and the Penn Township Police Department. As part of this drill, an active shooter was portrayed as a man of Middle Eastern descent, wearing a headdress (a keffiyeh) that is traditionally associated with Muslims.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the overwhelming majority of school shooters are white males between the ages of 12 and 17. To the extent that the drill was an attempt to prepare staff and others for the possibility of an active shooter, having a member of the staff wear a keffiyeh was incredibly misguided. More importantly, it was racist. It perpetuates the misguided notion that Muslims in the United States are responsible for crimes such as these, when crime statistics prove otherwise.

The school district has a higher responsibility as an institution of education, charged with shaping young minds and providing guidance to children and teens. All teachers, staff, faculty and administrators involved in this drill should have known better, and they should have spoken out against the use of this type of "costume" for this drill. This type of negative, racist stereotype should have never been part of the process.

For these reasons, we request that the Penn-Trafford School District issue an apology to the students and to the community. We believe that this step is important in acknowledging the wrong that occurred, and then working towards preventing anything similar from happening in the future.