Around 7:00 pm the other night, I got an automated call from my daughter’s school. It was a message informing parents that the following day, the school would be practicing an emergency drill. I ended that call, closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
To the best of my ability, I explained to my almost 5 year old, that tomorrow she would be practicing a drill, kind-of like a fire drill. I told her it would be for a different kind of emergency, one that the police would come for, to make sure everyone was safe at the school. That’s about as much as I could offer her little brain. Quite honestly, it was about as much as I could handle.
This was a drill to help prepare my child, in the event of a school shooting. It’s almost difficult to even type those words. I don’t want that to be a reality, but it is. It’s been proven over and over, that no little town or big city is safe from this epidemic in our country.
The next day I picked up my daughter, and a friend of hers that I give a ride home, from school. The drill wasn’t even on my mind until they brought it up. As soon as I heard the girls talking about the police officers in the school, teaching them how to hide…I almost had to pull the truck over. I was literatly sick to my stomach.
The girls talked and I just listened, unable really to say much because I was so emotional. They talked about how the police officers were so nice. My daughter said, “It wasn’t hard at all Mommy.” I had to fight the urge to not let the tears welling up in my eyes, fall down my cheeks.
I was a senior in high school, when the massacre at Columbine happened. Every time I hear about these random acts of violence anywhere, but especially in schools, now that I have a school-age child, it affects me deeply. I didn’t watch the news or even go on Facebook for weeks after the tragedy (really not even a strong enough word there) happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. I didn’t have my head in the sand, my emotions are just too close to the surface and absorbing that much sadness can be dangerous for me.
I can’t look away anymore though. I don’t have a choice now because my daughter is a student. Every day I put her safety in the hands of the school – a school that matches many of the other schools, where these tragedies have occured. Hearing my daughter and her friend talk about preparing for it, was heartbreaking, a slap of reality and an overall confirmation that times have changed.
I am not a “keep my kids in a bubble to keep them safe” kind of Mom. However, I can’t help but feel like getting that automated message changed me. I know my daughter has no idea what that drill was really all about, nor do I really want her too. She was taught enough. Truth is, no matter how prepared anyone is, no one really ever is.
The nauseous feeling in my stomach, as I write this and consider the very real possibility that this could happen at the school where my children go, is overwhelming. I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since two days ago, when I picked the girls up from school.
I know all parents carry this fear now. It’s not only in the schools, it’s everywhere – movie theaters, post offices, military bases, shopping malls – there is no rhythm to where or why this continues to happen. But it does. I truly believe the wrong issues are being dealt with in processing all of this in our society, but I won’t get in to that here.
This is a post about a Mom sharing, what I now know, is truly one of her worst fears – senseless violence occurring to or around my child.
Has your child had these types of drills at his/her school? Was your community involved? How did your child (and you) handle it?