The topic of violence in schools is a painfully alarming one , but it’s also something that we’re accustomed to hearing about frequently. Our kids’ schools practice lockdown drills as a standard part of their safety routines now, and as much as we hate that these drills are even necessary, we know that school shootings are a frightening possibility… seemingly anywhere.
Maybe your kids have told you about their lockdown drills.
They are taught to be quiet. They’re taught to follow their teacher’s directions. They’re taught to hide. Almost any child that has practiced a lockdown drill can tell you what they are supposed do in the event of a school shooting of threat.
But what they don’t -or can’t- always tell you is what the reality of hiding to try so they won’t be killed at school really feels like.
What’s it like to have to ponder your mortality while sitting in your elementary school classroom?
Mom Shelley Harrison Reed’s Facebook post describes the horrific reality of what a genuine school lockdown feels like for our children.
She begins her post by stating that due to a “whack job calling in a bomb threat”, her daughter Vanessa’s school conducted a real lockdown to ward off any actual threat. The police reported to the scene and thankfully, it was determined that the threat was in fact a hoax.
And her children seemed fine with it- or so it appeared. They finished their homework, chatted as usual, and went about their afternoon. A typical day, almost.
Until Shelley noticed some writing on her daughter’s arm:
When Shelley questioned why her daughter had written the words, “Love Mom and Dad” on her arm, here was Vanessa’s reply:
in case the bad guy got to us and I got killed, you and daddy would know that I love you.
And now the kicker: Vanessa is only SEVEN YEARS OLD.
This statement is the most heartbreaking illustration of the terrifying insanity that our poor, innocent children are forced to accept as part of their “normal” school experience.
Try to remember what concerns were on your 7-year-old mind back in second grade. Now try and shift your perspective to our present time, and imagine being the same age- trying to grapple with the reality that there might be a shooter in the hallway, & today could be the day you are killed.
Not the day you “die” (as in one day far away, at some point in your ripe old age), but the day you are KILLED. In your school.
Shelley’s daughter then began to cry, and so did Shelley, because:
To know that my 7yo was put in a position to think that thought is absolutely gut wrenching and it’s killing me inside.
And I bet it’s killing you to even think of your own child in the same situation, isn’t it? And perhaps your local school district has never faced a genuine threat that required a serious lockdown. But the reality is, real or imagined, our kids are forced to confront their own mortality every time they practice a lockdown drill.
I’m not faulting the drill itself, of course. I’m thankful that our schools are trying to do something to avoid or limit casualties. But isn’t that also deeply disturbing??
We are forced to view our child’s school lockdown drills as an attempt to avoid casualties.
The word is rather clinical, and detached. But it’s reality is we require lockdowns in order to limit the children killed.
Let me repeat that: the.children.killed.
Because we live in a society now where children HAVE been killed in acts of unimaginable violence, right in their very own classrooms. Our children are now forced to have to dwell on their own survival plan in the very same space that they are learning their letters, or practicing multiplication.
While this was Shelley Harrison Reed’s own personal experience with a brush of potential school violence, her post drives home the reality that this is EVERY PARENT’S brush with that same violence.
Even hours later, she couldn’t shake the gut-wrenching emotion of the day’s events. Can you blame her??
I can’t seem to shake this awful feeling, feeling of sadness, fear, and plain disgust for this new ‘normal’ our kids have to deal with on any given day…..it’s a very scary and disturbing society we now live in, and it’s heartbreaking.
Our kids have no choice but to think about what a school shooting would be like, and there’s no possible way that this anxious, violent new reality that our society has now entrapped them in won’t leave its scars on them for it.
So my kids school had a genuine lockdown today. Some whack job called in a bomb threat ?? Police came and everything…