Home » Motherhood, parenting » It’s normal to them

It’s normal to them

The other day, about an hour before school got out, a friend of mine who happens to work at the elementary school down the street sent me a text saying they were on lockdown, and asking if I’d heard anything on the news. I hadn’t, didn’t even have the television on, but in that moment, I heard the helicopter flying overhead, along with some sirens. Joy. I quickly searched the local news channel’s web-page. Nothing there. Texted another friend who has access to a scanner. Discovered ALL the schools within a two-mile radius, were on lockdown. Two of my three kids were locked inside their classrooms, hiding under their desks. This is normal to them.

I distinctly recall the first time I was on campus – helping in Big Man’s Kindergarten classroom – and there was a lockdown drill. It shook me to my core. Little four and five year olds already old hat at diving under the tables, hands behind their necks to protect the vulnerable area, doors locked, shades drawn, complete silence in the room. I’ve been through five or six of these things now, but they are always emotionally upsetting to me. It’s a sad state when our kids find this kind of drill, and the reason behind it, “normal.”

When I was a kid, we had earthquake, and duck-and-cover drills. This was in the days of the heightened Cold War. I also grew up in California, so earthquake drills were definitely mandatory. We never thought anything of it. It was just part of school life. Our teachers didn’t say much about the duck-and-cover drills. I don’t know I completely understood why we did them.

My kids  know why they have lockdown drills. That makes my momma’s heart ache – that they know there is a potential someone will come onto their campus on a shooting rampage….that they don’t have the highest confidence school is a safe place…..that they know the best place and the best way to hide should the unthinkable occur. It’s normal to them. It’s not normal to me.

The lockdown lifted after an hour at the elementary schools, fourteen minutes at the high school (which had been the last to go on lockdown, being the furthest from the apparent problem).  They didn’t tell the kids why they were on lockdown. Students found out from their parents either by texting while on lockdown, or when they got home from school. I’m  not sure how I feel about that. They should know what’s going on, although I’m not sure how that information would be disseminated. Also, the parents weren’t told until we received robo calls from the district office later that evening. If my kid is on lockdown, I want to know when it happens, and I want to know why it’s happening, not have to track down the information through other sources, or wait five hours for a robo call.

My kids were un-phased by the entire process. Turns out, no one was on any one campus, there was potential danger in the area, and the students were put on lockdown to keep campuses clear. This is normal to them, but I don’t think it will ever be normal to me.

14 thoughts on “It’s normal to them

  1. I can relate to your post. For us it was tornadoes. The thought of someone on campus with a gun would have been unimaginable. Unfortunately, this is the new normal. ;(

    • It is sad. School should be safe. School should feel safe. While I’m glad they know exactly what to do should the need arise. I’m really sad they have to know that

  2. This happens way too often in our schools and usually the parents don’t even know. It is for safety purposes but a scary ordeal nonetheless.

    • So true. When it happened my first thought was “Why aren’t they notifying the parents?” Then I realized if they did, all kinds of parents would go to the schools, blocking the roads and parking lot and inhibiting emergency services. So there’s that. My kids weren’t really scared. While they didn’t know why they were on lockdown they did know it wasn’t a direct threat on their campuses.

  3. I find it sad that the lockdown procedures are necessary. When my kids were in school, the doors were never locked. The worst that ever happened here was the day a dad and a step-dad happened to meet in the stairwell on their way to pick up the same kid. One of the men had a can of mace and sprayed the other, after which the stairwell was locked. (Stupid men!) Now you have to worry about lunatics going into a school (or anywhere, for that matter) and shooting for no reason whatsoever. I’m glad I don’t have children in school any more.

  4. I know. I hate it too.
    Sassy will message me when they’re on lockdown. It makes me so uncomfortable. It’s terrible for anxiety.
    Last time it was a bomb threat at a local church. (Church!!! I’m not a religious person at all, but I understand the word ‘SACRED.’)
    I think about it every time I have to be buzzed in. Went today to take Moo’s trainers, and the receptionist asked me to show her the bag’s contents and the empty bag before buzzing me. I’m not mad. Not at the receptionist or the policy or the drills. I’m just mad the world has gone so mad that we need these things to keep our kids safe.

    • I wanted to know immediately but I understand why they didn’t tell the parents right away – too many would have gone to the school immediately blocking roads and parking lots. Hard line to draw.

  5. This is one of the things Rhonda is most grateful for, since she moved to the UK; this just isn’t a thing here.
    The idea that she can send Audrey to school, without having to worry about some lunatic turning up and terrorising the students, or worse, is definitely a plus.
    When she first moved over here, she’d see groups of kids of 11 or 12, walking around the town together and look around, asking; “Where are their parents, surely they aren’t out on their own?” and I’d assure her that this is perfectly normal, accepted behaviour. Now, Audrey goes out in the local neighbourhood all the time with her friends (she’s 7) and Rhonda thinks nothing of it, but it took a while to convince her that she’d be safe. Obviously, we don’t let her go anywhere without us knowing where she’s going first, but I know Rhonda is so much more relaxed, now that the niggling thought that something bad may happen to her is a fading memory.

    And yet I still end up getting into big “debates” with Americans on social media, about how they just need more guns to make their country safer and that the UK can’t possibly safer because the police are largely unarmed and “the criminals will always have guns”.
    It makes me very glad I live here and that I have got my family with me, where I can keep them safe.

    • I wish sanity would reign over here but yes, the majority thinking seems to be, “Oh, we’re having mass shootings? Then we obviously all need more guns.” Argh!

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