Polish school director fired over terror attack exercise

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Local authorities in northeast Poland say that a primary school director has been fired and psychologists are working with traumatized schoolchildren following a terrorist attack exercise the director organized but that unprepared students took for real.

The director of primary and middle schools group in the town of Barczewo had a local security firm organize the exercise for the students on how to act during terrorist attack. But she failed to warn the students or the teachers it would take place.

Many students, who are between the ages of 10 and 14, panicked and cried when men in camouflage dress, face masks and fake guns in hands entered the school Nov. 14, throwing bang grenades.

Barczewo Mayor Andrzej Maciejewski says the director had exposed the schoolchildren to unnecessary trauma even though he knew some of them require special psychological care.

In a letter to local education authorities last month, Maciejewski said the director failed to offer psychological counselling to traumatized children and asked that she be fired, which was done Nov. 29. The mayor notified prosecutors of the exercise last week.

The firm that carried out the exercise said the men who conducted it were not aware that the children had not been warned ahead of time.

Some parents say their children are still afraid to return to the school or go on school excursions or are afraid to sleep alone.

Education authorities say it is up to school directors to decide whether to hold such exercise. Poland's schools have been free of terrorist attacks.