When Michelle Meeker approached a strange man at the Colorado nursing home where she worked, he flashed a gun and forced her into an empty room as she begged for her life. The gunman was a local police officer and the episode a drill, arranged by the retirement home’s management to prepare employees for an armed-intruder scenario. She filed a federal lawsuit against the officer and the facility, alleging she was left so traumatized she had to quit her job, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lawsuit is one of many about lifelike “active shooter” exercises, which growing numbers of businesses and schools use to train for the bedlam of a mass shooting.
People say they were never told the drills weren’t real attacks or that those conducting the exercises got out of hand. During the past decade, many states began requiring that schools hold lockdown or general-safety drills. Since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Ct., elementary school in 2012, five states have passed or amended laws mandating that schools conduct active-shooter drills, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. School and workplace managers say such drills—which can involve police officers in disguise firing blanks—are intended to simulate reality. But critics contend they can terrify employees and students.