Over the last couple of days some schools in our school district were put on lock down when a message was picked up by these schools with a computer generated voice saying ” I am in the school and I want to kill 100s of children“. This is now day 2 of threats and I am beside myself not knowing whether to send my child back to school tomorrow, I can’t get the thought out of my head that maybe he should stay home for a while. There was never such a thing as “lockdown” drills when I was growing up. I had to first explain what a lock down drill was to my kindergartener during the first month of school. It made me tear up so much telling my child that this was in preparation in case bad people came to the school wanting to harm them. At five, when he’s supposed to be venturing off to school and learning in a safe environment, I also have to tell him the dangers that “could” lie ahead?
I guess at some point we’ve all been warned about stranger danger. In my day and age it was don’t take candy from a stranger, don’t get in a stranger’s car. Now its much more vicious. It’s not simply being leered away from what is supposed to be a safe place, a safe walk home….its viscious obliteration of life. How do you warn a defenseless child of that?
I guess you don’t and you just hope for the best….
I’ve had an emotional few hours to think about this as I waited to collect J from school and couldn’t wait to see him run toward me. I’ve sat here thinking, even debating whether or not to send my child back to school tomorrow.
It’s not an easy decision to make, but I’m looking at this thing from several different angles now.
1. Most of the time when tragedies happen such as school shootings, there’s usually no warning. It just happens. So this could be a prank call from a teenager, or somebody who gets a thrill out of scaring people.
2. I don’t think that anyone who intends on getting away with a crime like this would give a heads up about it.
3. There are so many trolls and people who hide behind the internet and yes the phone that make threats like this just to rile people up, just for a reaction.
4. I can be grateful that the lockdown was from a phone call, not a real act of violence.
This is what I’m telling myself. This is what I have to tell myself to allow my child to go back to school. Do I want my child to live in a box and not let my child experience all the things this life holds for him due to the threat of what could happen? No.
Am I terrified at sending him back to school?
But at this point I’m not gonna transfer my fear to my child who seems happy and his normal self right now. I don’t want to do that to him. I was anxious to hear about what he thought of the lockdown. He said at one point he was scared, but when he saw the police officer he knew everything was ok. After that brief discussion, he then asked what he could have for an afternoon snack and that was it for him. He hasn’t really thought about it since then, but I have. I can’t stop thinking about it.
I just read a post tonight by a pre-K teacher that was featured in the Washington Post that every parent should read to get a real good picture at what goes on during a lockdown drill, especially with very small children, she does bring a very enlightening picture to what kids go through all across the country at schools where she compares it to “rehearsing their death”. I can’t help but agree with her viewpoint.
It was about a month ago on a school morning. I had the news on as I was pouring milk into my boys cereal bowls. On the news there was an attempted kidnapping of a child at a park. The toddler’s older sister witnessed it, followed the man screaming and making a fuss the whole way. Due to her actions, the kidnapper dropped the toddler and ran off. My five-year old was watching the news story and he became scared. At first I wanted to dismiss it and tell him not to worry about things like that, that he’s safe, or that this kind of thing wouldnt’ happen to him. But would I be doing him any favors if I told him that?
It was then that I muted the television, sat down at the table with him and we had a discussion. It was a discussion that made him cry, but it was one that I hope stuck with him. I told him that if anyone ever tried to take him away from any place anywhere that I wanted him to kick and scream, to bite, to holler to do all he could to get away. I told him not to give in to the kidnapper, not to listen to do as much as his little body would let him do to fight off any abductor and to never give up! Yet I’m sending him to school, where they are teaching children to cower in a corner and wait for impending death.
I am no expert by any means and I know this kind of situation could happen at a grocery store, a bank, a park…anywhere really, so there really truly is no safe place. I do not know what protocols work for things like this, and what doesn’t and maybe this truly is the best way to deal with an armed intruder in a school. But I know one thing, maybe with small children hiding in a corner is best, but maybe with older children, ones that comprehend that fight of flight reflex, we can teach them to fight back. I don’t want to teach my boys to cower in a corner….maybe while they are young and defenseless, but I’d want for them to have a chance at trying to escape something so tragic. I do know that there is only so much you can expect from a child at any given age and only so much you can teach them. In a situation like this, maybe its best what we are teaching in schools, but at the same time, maybe it’s not. Maybe we need to re-evaluate this. Maybe we need to equip our teachers and school personal better…. I don’t know.
I do know one thing, it’s harder than ever to raise a child in this world and know what truly is best for them and to rightly know when to step in and when to just trust and let officials and teachers lead our kids to the best of their ability.
I pray this person or these people are found and these sick calls stop.
What would you do if you found out your child’s school was on lockdown due to a threatening call like this?
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