Last week the Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro, TN took their annual field trip to Fall Creeks Falls. According to the School’s News Release dated May 13th the following transpired: Every year on this field trip there is a “campfire prank” and the students expected one this year as well. On Thursday night as the sixth grade children were preparing to leave the next day the “lead teacher” came in and told them along with the adults that there were people at the campground firing guns. They were told that the gunmen were not shooting other people but that they were “driving around playing”. The “lead teacher” told the children to get under tables and they did. After a short time the teacher turned the lights on and told them that this was the “prank”. Most of the students said it was a good prank and they had been fooled. The children then went to their dorms to prepare for bed. Three of the boys and a “few” of the girls seemed upset and were comforted. A meeting was held for the parents on Saturday afternoon. The school admits that the “prank” was inappropriate for the children.


This is not a “prank”. A prank is according to Webster, “a playful trick”. A prank is hiding someone’s toothbrush or leaving the toilet seat up. It is not something that causes terror. These 11-year-olds have seen the planes flown into the Twin Towers causing their collapse. They watched the Amish families grieve for their young sons and daughters and brothers and sisters who were shot dead in the classroom by a deranged Charles Carl Roberts IV just a little over a month into this school-year. Not even a month ago they watched the Swat Teams converge on the campus of Virginia Tech where Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 students and teachers before killing himself. It is not a joke to tell 11-year-old sixth graders away from home on an overnight field trip that there are people at the campground shooting guns in the night. This should be obvious to any adult much less to one that is entrusted with the education of America’s youth.


Sadly, it may be time to train all young school children on what to do and how to behave during a crisis situation where guns are being fired. But this training should always be conducted by professionals and the children should know that it is just a drill. It should not be a “campfire prank”.


Scales Elementary’s News Release assures us that this incident is being investigated and “will be dealt with correctly”. I do hope this is an isolated incident. I do hope that it never happens again, anywhere. I am deeply concerned.



J. Hernandez blogs at 



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