Role player's attire in video of active shooter drill at local school causes controversy

Role player's attire in video of active shooter drill at local school causes controversy

Video of an active shooter drill done in the Penn Trafford School District shows the person playing the role of the shooter wearing a traditional Muslim garment.

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — In video of a local school shooting drill, the person portraying the shooter appears to have on traditional Muslim headwear known as a kaffiyeh.

The video from the Penn Trafford School District appeared on Twitter and upset several people.

School leaders told Channel 11 they did not mean to represent any culture or religion, although others say the active shooter drill is sending the wrong message about the Islamic faith.

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Former Penn Trafford student Jarrett Ritchie told Channel 11 the school district and those responsible for putting on the drill went too far.


"Uneducated bigotry, and it's unacceptable, it's more sad than anything," Ritchie said.

"Active shooter situations are a real problem in America. It's an epidemic. It's a tragedy, but it has nothing to do with the Muslim community," said Wasi Mohammed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. "It's unacceptable. It's disgusting. It's another instance of people using the Muslim community to stoke fear."

The school district released a statement saying that the drill:

"...did not intend to represent any particular culture or religion as the shooters"  and that "the consultant group led the drill."

Channel 11 contacted Command Excellence, the consultant group, who said the volunteer who had on the Muslim attire did so without their permission.

Channel 11 also talked to the chief of the Penn Township Police Department, whose officers also took part in the drill.

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He said by no means did his officers, or anyone associated with the drill, mean to stereotype any race or ethnic group.

"We have to use this as an opportunity to see this as from a different perspective and realize there are people who could be offended by this and make it a teachable moment for ourselves," said John Otto, chief of the Penn Township Police Department.