School freaks out because students making a science video with an umbrella were mistaken for school shooters

A school in Pennsylvania went into full-on lockdown when some children who were making a video about the immune system, which involved some sort of play-fighting with an umbrella, were mistaken for gun-toting lunatics. There is a balance between disaster preparedness and "when in trouble, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout," and this isn't it. A deputy chief in the video excuses the exercise because the kids were doing something "suspicious," but of course, there's a difference between being secure and being terrified of anything out-of-the-ordinary. Alerting parents and locking down kids when nothing bad is happening isn't making us more secure, it's making us more scared.

School Goes Into Lockdown — Complete with Kids Crying in Closet — Over Umbrella


  1. I’m surprised it wasn’t more wide spread phenomenon yesterday.  The administrators had to make a quick decision and the safety of the students was their main priority.

    You and I weren’t there.  We didn’t see the video and we weren’t charged with the safety of a thousand students.

    Alternate reality:
    “I thought it was just an umbrella” says John Smith who was watching the security monitors that day.  “Until the shooting started everything seemed like students acting out a school skit.”  Imagine the second guessing then.

    The students weren’t removed from school.  Everyone had a bit of a scare and it was dealt with professionally within 25 minutes.  It helps that the UD police department is right across the street from the HS.

    1. We’re quick to mock, but I am also sure admins were also thinking of what happened not too long ago in adjoining Springfield Township High when a kid brought a rifle to school.

      1. I wasn’t mocking.  I fully support the actions that the HS admins and police in UD took yesterday.  

        Your addition of the Springfield incident just supports what the administrators did.  Thanks for adding it.

        1.  Sorry, Mark, I didn’t mean to suggest that you were mocking, just that the general knee-jerk response online has involved a lot of eye-rolling.

          1. Yeah, I hoped that was the case…the majority of your comment was supportive of mine… sometimes threaded comments can make things less clear. :-)

            I’ve seen commentary of “they have cameras in the HS?” or “what kind of idiot thinks an umbrella is a gun?”. People need to step back and imagine what it would be like to have that kind of responsibility for the lives of all those people.

            A quick, non-lethal response solved the situation almost before anyone knew it was occurring. Students may have been frightened but that’s going to happen…and I say that as the father of a child who will most certainly be frightened when this happens.

  2. This is a reality check for all those who have been calling for school officials to start carrying weapons. If that had been the case at this school, there’s a good chance that these kids would have been shot dead.

    1. How can you say that? Did you even watch the video. It was a security guard who alerted administration.

      I don’t see how anyone would have been shot. I suspect you enjoy spreading FUD.

  3. Just after starting college, a set of my friends and I were held at MP-5 point by several local police  officers, downtown at mid day, because someone saw us flipping the belt on his trench coat around and *assumed* it was an “assault rifle”. This was in the year 2000. 

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