Someone tell me what good purpose it serves when armed officers burst unannounced into a middle school classroom with weapons drawn, convincing hysterical and stunned students that they are about to be killed:

Students, teachers and parents were taken by surprise after an “active shooter drill” brought the Winter Haven middle school into lockdown as armed police officers burst into classrooms with their weapons drawn.

Students at Jewett Middle Academy said they were terrified when police officers burst in the doors for a planned active shooter drill – but students and teachers are irked they were not told ahead of time.

Seventh-grader Lauren Marionneaux told WTVT-TV that when the officers burst into her class with an AR-15, she was in fear for her life.

“We actually thought that someone was going to come in there and kill us,” the station quoted her as saying.

But police say they conduct these drills for the absolute safety of the students.

“These types of drills are vital in order to evaluate not only law enforcement response, but more importantly to educate the students and school officials in case an actual event were to occur,” Chief Charlie Bird said in an email to media.

If this is how Winter Haven Chief Charlie Bird wants to educate middle school students about active shooters, I shudder to think how he would warn students about the dangers of rape.

While lockdown and active shooter drills are now part of school culture nationwide, it is incredibly rare for law enforcement agencies to burst into classrooms unannounced, terrifying students and faculty alike. Most active shooter drills involving law enforcement officers with weapons use some sort of man-maker rounds or airsoft simulations in an inactive school, either on a workday or during a scheduled school break. Students who participate in these drills are volunteers who have been briefed beforehand on how to act.

Likewise, you do not conduct this sort of training with live ammunition.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Some of the officers in the drill entered crowded classrooms with their duty sidearms drawn, with live ammunition in the magazine and chambered.

We’ve been reading almost weekly about officers shooting themselves and others during training at firing ranges, and two officers have been killed in the last two months while training (one in Texas, and one in Pennsylvania) in much more controlled situations. Despite this harsh reality, this police chief is sending armed men into classrooms containing dozens of students and teachers who have no idea what is going on, and where a true “safe direction” (such as a range backstop) simply doesn’t exist.

This is a recipe for disaster.

If I were a Winter Haven parent, I’d seriously be questioning the judgement of both the school administrators that allowed officers to terrify students and staff to “educate them,” and that of the Winter Haven Police, who unnecessarily put the lives of students at risk.