Last week, while volunteering in my son’s first grade class, I had the unexpected opportunity to participate in a Lockdown Drill. With the PA system announcing “Lockdown! Lockdown! This is a drill. Lockdown!” I watched a classroom of 6 and 7 years olds take their places as the teacher barricaded the door waiting for the signal to rush the children out of the classroom, out of the school, to safety. I watched my son and his best buddies arm themselves with “sturdy classroom supplies” in order throw at the “intruders.” I watched a young girl clamor on all fours around the room trying to find a place to hide because the teacher instructed “no more than 1 person in a spot, you must spread out!!” Then when assured the “intruders” were a safe distance away, we booked for the exits hoping every child got out safely before the mock intruder reached our hallway. And, standing at the far end of the rainy parking lot, some kiddos still held their Elmer’s glue bottle defense weapons tight in their hands as we waited for the all clear. Tears teetered in my eyes. My son’s teacher’s hands were shaking. It was a drill. But it felt real for this mom looking at her son and trying to imagine where my other child was at this moment. Did she get out or was she still in her room?
It was impossible to experience this and not be reminded of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was impossible not to imagine the terror of the those students and teachers in that moment and every moment since the tragedy.
While I am deeply saddened and truly troubled our children have to practice lockdown drills – that these are a quarterly occurrence, which my children now take in stride – I am amazed and relieved how well the drill was executed. I left the school emotionally shaken but entirely confident in the Carmel Clay administrators and teachers to take care of our children to the best of their abilities.
Thank you Carmel Clay Schools; thank you to the administrators, resource officers, teachers, staff and facility managers for making these drills a priority.
I hugged the stuffing out of my kids when they came home that day. (Admittedly, I handed out the incredibly unhealthy Oreos and dunking milk for snack…because: I could) and, today, I continue my hourly prayers that we never need to take these exercises beyond the drill stage.