A new video for teachers that simulates a school shooting has been condemned for portraying guns in the classroom.
The simulation allows players to experience a school shooting from the viewpoint of the attacker and also of the teacher. It has been developed by the US army and Homeland Security Department, using video-game technology, in order to train teachers how to respond if faced with an armed intruder in the classroom.
“The more experience you have, the better your chances of survival are,” one of the film’s makers – working for the US army – says in a promotional video.
“With teachers, they did not self-select into a role that they expect to have bullets flying at them. That’s something that they did not choose as their career.
“And so we want to give them that chance to understand what options are available to them – and what might work well for them.”
Teachers didn't choose a career where they expected to have bullets flying at them...unfortunately, that's becoming a reality. pic.twitter.com/bThvHTXGYD— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) 3 January 2018
However, Twitter users have attacked the video. First among them was the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, set up in memory of the first-grade teacher who died protecting her pupils during the Sandy Hook shooting, which took place in the US state of Connecticut in December 2012.
We condemn this in the strongest way possible. To use a video game to simulate a school shooting is disgusting. Why does this world keep inflicting painful memories on us?— Team Vicki Soto (@TeamVickiSoto) 3 January 2018
A spokesperson for the charity added: "Vicki would not have wanted, nor would she have had, a gun in her classroom with children around. You cannot justify this to us. It is a reliving how Vicki died over and over again."
Others quickly agreed.
Some argued that creating a video to tackle the problem was the technological equivalent of offering a sticking plaster to someone with a life-threatening wound.
I mean you could just ban guns...save on playing a video game....save lives...save stupidity. Oh no... that would make too much sense!— Jenn Ludgate (@MissJLud) 4 January 2018
But inevitably, perhaps, other commentators felt that the game did not go far enough in addressing the problem:
If the teachers were armed, the simulation would be a lot shorter.— Loren T. Gilmore (@ltgilmore44) 3 January 2018