Raisin City Janitor Carries Fake Gun, Wears Mask for Unannounced Active Shooter Drill

The district’s superintendent believed the fake active shooter would make the drill more realistic and help them improve lockdowns in the future.

Raisin City Janitor Carries Fake Gun, Wears Mask for Unannounced Active Shooter Drill

A janitor at Raisin City Elementary School in California wore a mask, carried a fake gun and ran around campus as if he were an active shooter during a drill.

The incident occurred just before summer break and was authorized by Central Valley superintendent Juan Sandoval, reports Your Central Valley.

Teachers and parents of students, however, said the drill went too far. Students and staff did not know it was a drill and were terrified, said teacher Kim Copper.

“I thought this might not really be a drill, and what am I going to do,” she said.

Copper and her students tried to stay quiet as they gathered in the corner of the classroom, she continued.

“All of a sudden someone came pounding on the door and tried to open it,” Copper said. “I had one boy, he was trying to be very quiet about it, but he was sobbing.”

Sandoval is defending his decision, saying it was only a drill.

“No, I don’t think it was wrong. It was a drill. Because usually these drills become routine to students and we wanted to make sure this was realistic,” Sandoval said.

CS readers on LinkedIn, however, criticized the unannounced drill after the original story ran on CampusSafetyMagazine.com.

“This sounds like a really good way to get shot and a healthy dose of PTSD for the poor cop that K5’s this guy…” said one person.

“This is beyond being unsafe, it’s absurd. So many professionals in the school security space have promulgated best practices for putting on drills safely and with minimal trauma. Why aren’t these being followed?” said another commenter on LinkedIn.

After the drill, all teachers shared a video with the kids and talked about the incident, he explained.

Despite his intention of trying to better prepare his staff, Sandoval admits he didn’t tell anyone about the fake active shooter.

When asked about the terror students and staff felt, Sandoval replied, “Well when it’s a real situation, it’s worse than that. The teachers and students need to know this is reality.”

He also said the drill helped him and his office staff identify issues that need to be fixed during lockdowns.

“The district will be updating its active shooter training procedures and coordinating with law enforcement to improve our training effort,” the school board president wrote in a statement.

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About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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12 responses to “Raisin City Janitor Carries Fake Gun, Wears Mask for Unannounced Active Shooter Drill”

  1. Kevin Trudeau says:

    I cannot even begin to imagine the degree of short sighted, irresponsible, uninformed and flat out libelous thinking that went into making this decision. With all the information available to planners these days on the myriad risks associated with this kind of ill-advised drill it is absolutely shocking that such things still happen, not to mention that anyone would subsequently go on to defend the decision. Sounds like the training needed is at much higher levels than teachers and students!

  2. Mike C says:

    This was not extreme. Students and staff need to understand the severity of such a situation. People react to a real event the way they are trained. If training is not stressful, people will not react during a real event. Without the stress, people don’t take the drill seriously and will not react properly, they think it is a game. Even in law enforcement training has had to evolve into something more realistic so that the training is not looked at as a chore and just walked through to check a box. If you just check boxes, you are bound to end up with a check box next to your name as checking out.

  3. Kirk Turner says:

    Dumbest stunt ever!

  4. Joe says:

    Sounds like this Superintendent takes his students and staff’s safety seriously. (It’s time someone did.) People need to understand that the time to learn how to deal with emergencies is before they happen. That is why all of us should train to our ability to learn how to deal with bad things. Without knowing all the details the only suggestion I would have made would have been to notify, and include, local first responders that the drill was taking place. If training like this does not take place so that all persons involved are better prepared, the first thing that would happen after a real incident would be that community and parents will complain that the there was not enough preparedness training. We need to stop trying to protect people, including children, from realities, as unpleasant as they might be.

  5. Jeffrey Krohn says:

    Are you kidding me? I am a Emergency Services District Level Supervisor and this is one the most incredibly stupid “drills” I have ever heard of. Lets just say someone like myself, who is legally allowed to carry concealed in my district Schools, noticed this idiot in a hallway??? I can tell you that is life would have ended within seconds. Or, a teacher, who illegally brings a weapon to school and defends her classroom and shoots this guy? No drill SHOULD EVER BE conducted unannounced.

  6. Subject Matter Expert says:

    This is the most uneducated and inexperienced “drill” that I have ever heard of. I actually thought this article was a joke. As a retired Military Police Officer and now a District Emergency Services Administrator who is authorized to carry concealed in all of our schools, I can tell you this…that the Janitor would have been dead within seconds of approaching me if I was in the school because some stupid Superintendent decided to make a horrible decision like this. NO DRILL THAT IS ACTIVE SHOOTER RELATED SHOULD EVER BE UNANNOUNCED, PERIOD!

  7. daninbluemd says:

    I’m by no means an expert or familiar with the “best practices” for such events and I think at least that the police should’ve been informed & maybe even involved, but the superintendent’s intentions were in the right place (yes, the road to h*** is paved with…). This is real & the kids don’t take the drills all that seriously (I have 2 in middle school). That being said, there was a lot that could’ve gone wrong – Fortunately other than some possible ptsd, nothing did. I assume the district doesn’t sanction armed teachers, but that’s not to say there aren’t any, among a myriad of other possible nightmare scenerios. Maybe not such a bad approach with a little more foresight.

  8. Kevin D. Antony says:

    This is ridiculous! What if there was an armed officer on campus, off duty perhaps and shot this man.
    Someone should be fired.

  9. djlaw says:

    daninbluemd, “other than some possible ptsd,”, that can be a life long sentence with major impacts upon your life and the lives of those around you. I hope you never have had nor do you ever experience something that can give you “some ptsd”, because it can really impact you, in ways you never see coming. Overall, a really bad stunt. I get that people don’t take drills seriously, but “do no harm” comes to mind, especially with kids involved.

  10. Matt says:

    I agree with Joe. Yes, they should have included the local PD for sure. But the reality is that now, if a genuine shooter were to enter the school property, the staff and students know how they would respond. This was more than a run-of-the-mill “drill” that they’re all used to; they’ve experienced as close-to-real as you can get, and they all can examine their responses and fix any shortcomings, before the REAL thing ever were to hit. Our local LE uses SWAT gear and realistic-looking Airsoft guns to mimic a real scenario as closely as possible, in our school buildings. Let’s face it, don’t we want them prepared as well as possible for the real thing? I’m not saying I’d necessarily plan one like this, but I don’t disagree with what’s already been done. He obviously takes their preparedness very seriously.

  11. Michael Baker says:

    Drills are good to test staff and students,unannounced can be deadly.Most schools now have Special Education students who attend the school consider of them, not to set the off and start something that could realistically scare them.

  12. Master Exercise Professional says:

    We do not know the history of the exercise program for active shooter incidents at this school (if there is a “program”). This is NOT a drill. It is a full scale exercise. Before this should EVER take place a whole lot of discussion based exercises should have taken place with the teachers and students and leadership. They should have “walked” through many different scenarios using games, workshops and tabletop exercises to generate discussions. When determined students and teachers are ready they should have “crawled” into operations based exercises where numerous functional exercises, ANNOUNCED drills which serve a purpose of familiarizing potential victims on what to do/how to respond. I believe the superintendent had his heart in the right place, however, the delivery was all wrong and could have resulted in something more devastating than it was. The superintendent went from potentially not even “walking” through this scenario effectively to “running” a full-scale active shooter exercise. To be clear, this is not a drill with someone waving around a gun, beating on doors and disguised with a mask, and it is unannounced leaving teachers and students and anyone else in the vicinity to believe it is real. Full scale active shooter exercises should NEVER be unannounced. If the exercise is developed properly, an announced full scale exercise will prepare people so they will know what they need to do to survive. Terrorizing unknown participants is the least effective training. I pray the students and teachers and guests at the school will get the training they need to know when to run, hide or fight to stay alive through an active shooter incident.

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