In January, teachers in an active shooter training exercise filed into a classroom at a school in Monticello, north of Lafayette, where the trainers lined them up along a wall. The trainers then used airsoft guns to shoot pellets — typically plastic — at their backs, leaving the teachers with welts, bruises and abrasions, according to The Indianapolis Star.

“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” one of the teachers from Meadowlawn Elementary School told the Star. “I was hit four times. … It hurt so bad.”

Experts say the lineup was unusual for such a training. 

Now the Indiana teachers union is fighting an amendment to a state bill that would continue to permit such projectiles being fired on school staff during an active shooter training. But the bill stipulates: only if the participant consents to it and only if the person is told in advance that projectiles would be used.

Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said the teachers in Monticello had signed a waiver but didn’t know they’d be shot with pellets.

“We’re in disbelief that people would consider that,” Meredith said, claiming it can cause physical and emotional harm. Even if a teacher agrees to the tactic, she said, “Why do they think that’s OK?”

Mishawaka Police Capt. Brian Fox said he’s used airsoft guns in active shooter training that he’s organized for area school staffs, but not in any kind of lineup. Airsoft is used in sports where opponents tag each other, shooting at a lower velocity than pellet guns. Fox emphasized that he clearly separates participants into three groups.

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