Teacher suspended for pretending to shoot 1st graders

Teacher suspended for pretending to shoot 1st graders in game

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NEWNAN, Ga. -

A Newnan teacher has been suspended after playing a hide-and-seek game with first graders and pretending to shoot them.  Some parents said that the game, which was designed to educate students about the Newtown, Conn.  school shooting, went too far.  

The Odyssey School in Newnan is one of Georgia's oldest charter schools in the state.  The teacher was a middle school band director who was substitute teaching a first grade physical education class.  He's been suspended and will be required to undergo professional training.

Odyssey School Executive Director Andy Geeter says it was poor judgment by a well-meaning teacher.

"There are things that you can and can't do, and it shows, if nothing else, that you just can't do security off the cuff.  You have to train and prepare for it," Geeter said.

Letters have gone home to Odyssey School parents.  Some parents reported that their first-graders were having nightmares.

Geeter says his own daughter was in the class.  He says all the first-graders have been offered counseling, but none has asked for it.

The incident shows how challenging the topic of security is for schools and the difficulty in preparing them without alarming them.

The teacher is said to be one of the most popular teachers at the school.

"We have a teacher who is the first person to volunteer for things.  He would be the first person to protect kids in a crises, who made a bad decision," Geeter said.

The school says that there will be long-term policy changes, as well as instruction, training for all of the teachers.

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