Vermont police apologize after students witness mock shootings

A vermont police department has apologized for one fake shooting which took place at the station while students were there as part of a school program.

The Burlington High School students attended the Burlington Police Department through a Year End Studies, or JA, forensics program.

The mock recording was a “roll-playing (sic) scenario” in which three members of the Burlington Police Department simulated “a robbery scenario,” according to a department news release.

The simulation was “not directed at students or faculty,” the department said, but was attended by the visiting students. One student told local newspaper Vermont Public that she was not aware of the planned scenario. She said that during the simulation, two screaming women burst into the room, followed by a man wearing a balaclava. The simulation was accompanied by gunshots, the student said.

Burlington, Vermont police logo.

Burlington Police

“It was laughed about afterwards,” she told Vermont Public. “(It) actually made it feel like a joke – not really a demonstration.”

The department said it had communicated plans for the simulation with school officials.

“On May 23, 2024, police and YES program officials communicated the details of the scenarios, saying, among other things, that the training incident would involve ‘the use of mock firearms in a mock shooting.’ Do you think such an incident would be good for your group of students? It’s as realistic as you can get, and it’s certainly exactly the kind of thing we deal with most often,” the department said in the press release.

“YES The program staff responded, ‘I think these students will enjoy this simulation. We will alert parents and students,” the department continued.

The Burlington School District did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

The police department said it would meet with students on Friday to talk about the presentation and its impact. The mother of a student told Seven Days she feared the incident could increase children’s fears around gun violence.

“I’m stunned,” she told the publication. “It is a very real threat to children today when there is a shooting at school. It’s something they’re concerned about.”

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