Yesterday I got a notification my son’s school was in a lock down situation due to police activity. Apparently a woman called police and said her partner was incoherent, armed, and had barricaded himself in the home near two schools. Police descended on the residence and was eventually able to remove the man safely. The school communicated well, and at no point were the kids in danger. That being said, no mama wants to hear her kid is locked in a building because of crazy nearby, especially armed crazy. I felt anxious for much of the day. What’s worse is that this wasn’t the first time the kids have been in lockdown.
Last year my kids ended up in lockdowns in two school districts in one week. One was at their school, and the other one occurred when they accompanied my SIL to pick up my nephew from school. A man had grabbed a gun and run into the woods at a park near the school. Police descended on the area and eventually used a drone to determine the man had committed suicide. During this time, my sister in law and my kids were yanked into the building and had to stay there for a few hours until the situation was resolved. Also last year, I was on a break at work, glanced at Facebook, and saw there was a shooting down the street from my kids’ schools. I took off running went to go get the kids from the afterschool program at the schools. I called the after school program to advise the director to lock the doors and not let anyone they didn’t know in. She knew nothing about the shooting and told me she’d probably know before I would. I saw RED and told her that she could debate that with me the next day, but at that moment I would EXPECT her to err on the side of caution and safety for the kids and lock the damned doors. I arrived to find my children’s schools (the two buildings are next to each other) surrounded by police in bulletproof vests and canines. They fortunately allowed me to collect my children and head home. We actually saw them arrest the shooter while we drove home. For the record, I live in a pretty decent suburb, filled with children and families. I don’t live in a high crime area or a major city. Nobody is really safe these days.
When I grew up, my parents dropped me at school and considered me safe for the rest of the day. I never concerned myself with anything except doing my schoolwork, hanging with my friends, and playing outside at recess. I certainly never worried about being gunned down in my classroom. I practiced fire drills. I didn’t not practice drills in case a gunman entered the school. The fact my children have to do this breaks me. My step-aunt is a teacher and she explained her fears about her classroom location. It’s the first one when you enter the school, and she has to have certain features in her classroom such as black out curtains and doors that lock from the inside. She said she is at the ground zero of the school, the first place that would likely have a problem, and she has to constantly have a plan for her students in case the unthinkable happens.
We are failing our children. I don’t purport to know the answers, and I have friends on all sides of the gun debate. Regardless of whatever side you fall on, know that kids are dying and we are failing them as a society. Other counties aren’t suffering these tragedies. What are they doing better than us?
When Sandy Hook happened, I sat and my desk shaking and crying the second I heard the news. The proximity to me (I live within about 20 minutes of there), the fact I had a first grader, it was all too close to home, too easily could have been our school. I knew what a first grader sounded like, smelled like, giggled like. I knew what a first grader’s fears and dreams were. I knew that brussel sprouts worry some first graders, but that they don’t normally fear getting blown apart. Even thinking about that day now brings me to a flood of tears. I struggle seeing the road signs for Sandy Hook. I can’t imagine the pain of every family at that school, especially of the children who were killed.
Somehow, some way, we need to all come together to find a solution. If we can’t come together to save our own children, we have bigger issues than we think.