School administrator’s paintball gun causes scare for parents picking up students

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PLEASANT HILL, Mo. -- It was just a drill, but to at least one Pleasant Hill parent, a gun being carried into school Friday looked all too real.

The active shooter drill was meant to be inside Pleasant Hill Middle School, after everyone was gone for the day. But a paintball gun being carried into the school, just as parents were picking up primary students next door, created quite a scare.

Larry Cummings said it looked like a large assault rifle, so he stopped right in the middle of the street and weighed his options, including sending his car into reverse and trying to run over the man before he could get into the school, clearly trying to hide the weapon.

"Instantly you run through scenarios in your head, oh my goodness what am I witnessing what I do? Do I run back down there? Do I go to my kids' school to inform them to get in the school because there`s a gunmen in this school?" Cummings wondered.

It turns out it was the Pleasant Hill School District assistant superintendent, and he said he was trying to hide the paintball gun as not to alarm anyone. But it led to Cummings starting to dial 911 until he happened to spot a police officer also arriving for the drill.

“As a parent coming up on a situation that I wasn’t aware of this could have gone a completely different direction, an individual could be harmed or dead. I was getting ready to dial 911 and waved down a police officer. Someone else might have handled it by pulling out a gun and stopping the individual in his tracks. It could have changed someone`s life in split seconds," Cummings said.

The school district says it has no plans on making changes to its policies of alerting parents to active shooter training, because that would defeat the purpose of the drills. More are planned this year, but Assistant Superintendent John Griffith said he’ll make sure to carry any paintball guns into the school in a bag from now on, and have a police escort.

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