Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We Were NOT Afraid #SOL15

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 began as most Wednesdays begin.

I arrived at school around 7:55 a.m. That's where the normal beginning diverged into an increasingly common school moment.

8:05 (approximately) Faculty were called to the library for a mandatory meeting.

8:10 a.m. We whispered among ourselves, trying to ascertain the reason for the meeting.

8:15 a.m. My principal announced that a student threat to other students was being investigated, and to insure the safety of students and staff we would be on a "limited access" lockdown the rest of the week. We were told that the threat originated on Twitter and had migrated to other social media. Additionally, we learn that the threat was against female students and that it was under investigation.

8:25 a.m. We returned to our rooms and began the day.

Learning commenced and continued.

Within the walls of our building, the day functioned much like any other, with the exception that students could not use a hall pass.

Shortly before lunch, an announcement informed students that they could not take backpacks into their afternoon classes but would have to leave them in their cars or lockers.

When the going gets tough, the tough find humor.

Lunchtime: A group of students congregated in my room and entertained one another--and me! Since most are in my 4th period, they stuck around for a normal learning period.

3:42 p.m. The day ended. Students and staff went home, to practices, to work. We all expected another day of "limited access" when we returned to school the next day.

5:45 (approximately): I received a text saying we would have a normal day on Thursday.

I later learned that the perpetrator  of the threat had been located. More importantly, I learned via social media and conversations at school the next day about the panic among many in the community; even my brother who lives in our basement arrived home from work in an agitated state of worry.

WE WERE NOT AFRAID!

Being in our building must be like the calm in the eye of a hurricane. We were not afraid of being shot or attacked. Students did what students do. Teachers did what teachers do. We studied and learned and created a strong community among our school family.

Why?

To those who have asked, I have responded by saying this: Our principal and other administrators did everything right. Our resource officer and his colleagues did everything right. They took the outside threat that originated on social media and wafted into the school via a threat to enter the building and harm members of the student body seriously. They acted calmly and appropriately to the threat. Student safety was the priority.

Because the administration and police acted as they did, we were not afraid.

Returning to school the next day, some students said their parents had plans to homeschool them. Others said they went home because of the lockdown. Those parents don't realize how safe our school environment is and how safe we all felt.

We can't live in a bubble, or in a coconut, or in an acorn. The best we can do is protect one another and stay safe together. That way, we will never live in fear.


The Tuesday Slice of Life challenge is sponsored by the team at Two Writing Teachers.