Superintendent OK’d active shooter drill that left students crying. Board takes action

The superintendent of a Fresno County school district will be formally reprimanded for his part in an active shooter drill at an elementary school.

The Raisin City Schools board voted 4-1 Monday to reprimand Juan Sandoval instead of suspending or terminating him after he approved the drill that terrified unprepared teachers and students in June.

The drill involved an employee wearing a mask, holding a fake rifle and banging on classroom doors.

Calls and messages left to Sandoval and board members were not returned.

Third-grade teacher Danny Nason said he thought reprimanding Sandoval was the appropriate action.

“I’m happy because it’s getting close to school and I want to focus on teaching,” Nason said. “I think it was resolved correctly. I don’t think he should have been fired.”

Nason said it got emotional and tense at times during the meeting, where there was both support and condemnation of Sandoval.

Several teachers, including Nason, said they were not told of the drill beforehand and believed it could be real. Nason said he nearly hit the employee with a fire extinguisher when he opened the door to his classroom during the drill.

Some students were crying afterward and asking to go home, said Nason, who added he also witnessed employees joking about the drill.

In the future, Nason said, Sandoval will have to get approval from the board before he runs any drills.

The California Teacher’s Association released a statement from teacher Kim Cooper, president of the Raisin City Teachers Association.

“The investigation into the misguided active shooter drill has led to changes that will result in greater oversight in the day to day decisions,” it read in part.

Cooper told The Bee that she is also satisfied with the outcome.

“I am glad that Mr. Sandoval will use better judgment in the future and I am glad that my students will feel safe in their school environment,” she said. “We will put this incident behind us and focus on the well-being of our students.”

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo
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