Outrage in New Jersey

A New Jersey high school has sparked outrage by staging a mock school shooting and hostage drama – with right-wing religious fundamentalists as the gunmen.

In late March, the Burlington Township High School – in an effort to prepare students for a real-life crisis – staged the mock attack, with two police detectives portraying angry Christian men armed with handguns. They entered the school with force, pretended to gun down students in the hallways, then took 10 students hostage and barricaded themselves in the school’s media center.

The fake gunmen were described as “members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the ‘New Crusaders’ who don’t believe in the separation of church and state.”

The men were purportedly seeking revenge because the daughter of one of them had been expelled for praying before class.

Before the exercise, Superintendent Chris Manno said that students and teachers needed “to practice under conditions as real as possible . . . in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they’re as effective as possible,” according to the American Center for Law & Justice.

I’m suuuure that this was just a random choice, and that the shooters just as easily could have been, say, eco-terrorists, Black Panthers, or disgruntled gays…

What a blatant display of bigotry! No public school should be inventing such vile associations to any religious group or political school of thought. Why couldn’t the threat have been a hostage-taking fugitive or a generic psychopath?

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