Twice this year. Two times too many. The anxiety is real.
The first time I heard the words, “Mom! This isn’t a drill, they just locked down our school. They say there might be a guy with a gun.” Silence. My heart literally stopped beating. I didn’t take a breath. What do I do?
Sitting at my desk, the alerts start to come through. I get texts and calls, screenshots of the local new station’s BREAKING NEWS. What the hell is going on?
That day was the longest day of my life. Fortunately, my child had her phone all day. I was able to stay in touch. She was locked in a classroom with her favorite teacher and several of her friends. I was able to talk to her, Facetime her, and text her. She didn’t move from that room for 6 hours. Finally the school started to dismiss the students. Buses first, loaded quickly and efficiently, all headed for home. Then drivers. Escorts took students to their vehicles and told which way to exit. Lastly, car riders and walkers. I think by 4pm, authorities had the entire school evacuated. Everyone was safe. We were so fortunate that there wasn’t ever and active shooter. That, my friends, is not always the case.
6 weeks later – again
This time a bomb threat. The call was made at 6:45am – just as the students were arriving on campus. Fresh off the bus, my daughter was pushed into the gym. “This is not a drill!” There were students everywhere. Some walking in, some bus riders, some car riders. Most were turned away at the entrance. The few that were on campus, locked down. Again. There was a different procedure this time. Bomb threats warrant different protocols. EVACUATE. And that’s exactly what they did. Four hours later, child in tow, we were home. This time … a false alarm. A prank.
I still can’t wrap my head around that.
I struggle with this next part. How do we stop this from happening? Here’s my issue. My child is no longer worried. Sure, what if it’s real next time? But so many times before – nonsense. She’s completely desensitized to the dangers that surround her. How do I continue to preach safety in numbers, be aware, and “run, fight, hide” when the pranksters continue on? My conversation with her after the second incident went like this:
“Are you ever scared when things like this happen?”
“Nope, I mean, I get nervous at first but nothing ever happens and the teachers just shuffle us from place to place.”
“But, what if it was real?”
“But Mom, it never is…”
HELLO!!!!! This is not okay! Nowadays, anything can happen at any time. Our children are drilled to the point of no feeling. I’m seriously at a loss for words and feelings.