Pa. school criticized over actor's Arab headwear in safety drill

Written by The Associated Press | May 16, 2019 11:02 AM

FILE PHOTO: A police officer carries a simulation handgun in his holster as FBI instructor Mike Sotka, back center, gives them a critique after an active shooter drill in Salisbury, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This story has been updated details about the headscart.

(Harrison City, Pa.) -- A school district in Westmoreland County is defending itself after video surfaced of a safety drill that had a teacher posing as a shooter and donning what appeared to be a Middle Eastern headdress.

The video appears to show the actor wearing a kaffiyeh. The Penn-Trafford School District said organizers of the training didn't intend to portray the shooter as Arab or Muslim at the January training.

The district said volunteers were provided costumes by a consultant group and there was no intent to represent any particular culture or religion.

The statement pointed out the person portraying the shooter also wore a long blond wig and a paintball mask.

The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh says "to stereotype the shooter is appalling given the data on active shooters and the recent shootings at the Tree of Life and Christ Church."

The video was for internal teacher training only, but footage was posted on social media this week, drawing backlash.

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