I meant to blog about this when it happened, but we see how good I’ve been at keeping up the blog. I will say that my house is finally coming together, so I’m feeling like I’ll have more time to write. I also need to find my funny bone. I used to be really funny in this space. What the hell happened?
Onto the topic at hand… On February 16th, everything they had practiced for came true: Sugar’s school had a real lockdown. Sugar and the rest of the 5th grade were outside having recess when suddenly adults started screaming at them to get inside. They were basically locked in their classrooms with the lights out for 45 minutes. Sugar has mentioned a few times about something dark covering the doors and windows, but I’m not real clear on what that process is, or what kind of equipment is used for that.
When a facility is under lockdown, no one is allowed to enter or leave the room they are in. That means that scared little kids that need to pee have to hide in a closet and go in a bucket. I am glad that these procedures are in place and my child is kept safe when she is not in my care. I’m glad that these procedures are practiced throughout the year.
It reminds me of the precautions that were taken when I lived in Germany as a kid. In the 1970’s there was a group of terrorists called the Baader Meinhof Group that protested the middle-class values of West Germany. I don't really know why, but American military personnel were thought to be at risk as well. As we lived in military housing away from the base that our school was at, we had a long ride to school in blue Air Force school busses. To reduce the risk, German tour busses were brought in to transport us to school. If I remember correctly, there was an armed MP at the front and rear of every bus. My parents still talk about the first day I rode home on a bus with armed soldiers. I came screaming in the house, locked the door behind me and cried that the police were coming to arrest me. Even though I was a student in public schools during mostly peaceful times, I’m no stranger to having schools shield their students from harm. Those bus rides are some of my most vivid memories of elementary school.
However, I have an issue with the lockdown at Sugar's school. Come on, you knew I would! When Skinny Bitch went to the school to pick up the girls, she was blindsided with this news of a real lockdown. Who told her about it? Our daughters. I am on every possible email notification list so it should be fairly easy to let me know what’s going on BEFORE MY KID TELLS ME.
Instead, our kids get in the car and tell Skinny Bitch what had gone on. She immediately lets me know and I went online to see what information I could find. Nothing. She gets home and goes through her daughters bag to find a note that said there had been a lockdown and that, "administrators received information, that if true, would potentially place students and staff in an at-risk situation." Because that explanation didn’t seem adequate, Skinny called the school. As hard as she argued, she wasn’t given any further information.
Since that day, we’ve not been given any information about why there was a lockdown. Did someone write something threatening on a bathroom wall? Did someone bring a gun to school? Was the creepy guy in the green car lurking out in the parking lot? Not only is this frustrating to parents, it limits our parenting as well. Our kids are scared and we don’t know what to tell them. We don’t know how to reassure them. We were given zero information and I think that sucks donkey balls.
Yesterday, Skinny starts texting in a panic that she’s waiting in the pick-up line and cars aren’t moving, but all the students seem to be waiting outside. I immediately went online to see if there was anything on the school website. I couldn’t even get it to load. I check the local news station, nothing there either.
Finally, cars start moving and Skinny collects the girls. Skinny sees men in HAZ-MAT gear and a police officer tells her there’s a spill of some kind. Suddenly, I am getting email, voice mail and texts from a variety of people… the story has hit the news. Apparently, someone in Texas mailed envelopes containing white powder to schools in NH, RI and ME and our middle school was one of the lucky recipients.
There are updates on the school website and Facebook. They are bending over backwards to provide information to the parents as to why there was another lockdown, busses were late, etc. they couldn’t say or do ENOUGH to reassure parents that their children were ok. In fact, they even apologize for the late notice to inform parents of the situation.
Late notice? I’m still waiting for my explanation for the February 16th lockdown. Are we only timely and efficient when the fucking media is involved?