In Israel police officers riding motorcycles and blaring sirens held a live-fire exercise in front of elementary school students in which a ‘terrorist’ was neutralized.
Ramat HaSharon parents, however, are angry after area elementary school students were exposed to a surprise live-fire police exercise, simulating a terrorist being neutralized during an attack.
The exercise was conducted as part of community safety activities in schools designed to raise awareness about the police and their operations. Officers and representatives prepared presentations for fifth graders when several officers riding motorcycles and blaring sirens burst into the demonstration area and ‘opened fire’ on a ‘terrorist.’
One of the mothers whose son was at the presentation, said, “Kids at that age should not have been exposed to the sounds of gunfire and the police advancing on a terrorist. This was a mistake. No one wondered how this could affect the children? Some of them came home terrified.” Another father said, “I’m shocked the school did not inform us that this was what the children were going to see. It’s outrageous that fifth graders needed to see how a terrorist is shot. We demand explanations.”
Gil Aichbaum, who filmed the exercises, had a different view of the drill. He stated that
“It was a wonderful and educational experience for the children. They had a lot of fun. People put this in a negative light, the opposite of what was intended, for no reason.” He added that the children were “explicitly told everything is just an act and not real. Out of this entire day, this is the only thing the kids enjoyed.”
The Israel Police issued a response, saying,
“For years, our officers have been maintaining close ties to the community and engage in joint activities with all ages, including youth and students of all ages. We are sorry that there are those who chose to misrepresent a positive and empowering event connecting the police to the community, where the children learned about good citizenship and the police’s role in society, all in coordination and at the request of the educational staff and the school administration.”