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A SWAT training exercise in Ohio in which a “gunman” hijacked a school bus and tied up students has generated online outrage after it was reported the children didn’t know it was an exercise.

A commentary from Personal Liberty Digest posted at the Rutherford Institute website called it the “latest example of the state working to familiarize American citizens with terror and heavy-handed police-state response.”

The report said while preparedness is a good idea, there was “one disturbing element to the drill: The students on board the bus had no idea that they weren’t in real danger – even though the drill had been planned since May.”

At the Opposing Views blog, Michael Allen said: ‘So the town’s police staged a school bus hijacking drill with unsuspecting students, as school teachers, administrators and transportation directors watched a live feed of the ‘training.’”

Justin Klocko, a student, told television state WJRT, which reported on the Rossford, Ohio, event: “I didn’t know what was going on, because at the start he was just a normal person and then he pulled out a gun and a mask, and put it all on. Then he started tying everybody down and it just got really scary.”

Wrote Allen: “Oddly, WJRT didn’t question the authorities for not telling students or allowing them to opt out of the kidnapping drill, which was planned in May. Instead, WJRT chirped: ‘Students say it’s an experience they’ll never forget, and one they hope they never … have to relive.’”

The school’s bus chief, Jeff Culler, told the station, “Every driver, administrator will take something away from this saying that this could actually happen on my bus.”

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