Day 2: Threat of School Shooting in Progress

Honey, text as often as possible. Love, Mom

No student should stare down the barrel of an assault rifle at school.

Did you miss the threat of school shooting yesterday?

While the planned threat did not happen at our school, it did happen in Colorado.

For the rest of this week, we have an assurance of police presence beyond what we can see. And, we know there is more that we can’t see.

Yesterday

Yesterday, my oldest got to her first-period class and discovered no exit strategy to leave her classroom. She freaked out and sent me a text to pick her up, after being confident in her exit strategy from each class.

She had been at school less than 20 minutes before receiving a picture of a Snapchat conversation that a student planned to shoot up the school.

So many students were absent that the faculty shuffled sparsely populated classes together. My daughter could not immediately be located because she wasn’t in her normal classroom. I sent her a text to determine what room she was in. Her text response allowed a call for her to go home.

The Principal met parents in the school vestibule, smiling, shaking hands, and telling jokes. He acknowledged our fear as parents and the students’ fear with validation and respect. He connected students leaving for the day with a steady stream of parents waiting to get their kids out of harm’s way.

This morning, my oldest woke up holding her stomach, wanting to puke. She is unsure what to expect today.

As we prepare for school drop off I make sure my oldest has her cell phone and that it is fully charged.

The youngest is unaware of what these events mean. Good for her. She needs to keep that innocence as long as possible.

“Honey, text as often as possible,” I said.

What parent tells their kid to text as often as possible during school?

This one. Sorry, not sorry.

I don’t believe anyone “needs” a cell phone. Our family has been through a lot over the last year and we moved to cut off direct threats to ourselves and to our children. When we got here we wondered if we should cancel the oldest’s cell phone to make certain threats unavailable.

We promote her cell phone as a tool for appropriate use. This school is technologically savvy. It uses technology to submit homework, receive assignments, and collaborate on projects. It is also a means to converse with students and teachers about academics.

If she didn’t have a cell phone she would be academically challenged.

We’ve also said…

If your phone gets taken away at school for inappropriate use then you will have to pay the fine to recover it.

Yesterday, that cell phone let us communicate while she believed she was under attack at school.

Today

This morning I told her:

Text as often as possible.

I doubt the school will be confiscating many cell phones today. And, if they do, I’ll be the first to pay the fine to put the phone back in her hands.

We are texting often.

New threat

While typing this story I receive a new alert.

The school just now sent a broadcast phone message to all parents and backed it up with the same verbiage in an email.

There’s a new threat.

On the way to school, this morning students found a gun and immediately reported it to authorities. Once again brave students saw something and said something.

Is this gun in hiding for a new threat to be carried out today?

No one knows.

Text messages from my daughter say the gun was loaded.

Because the incident is under investigation I’ll share an excerpt of the email:

Nicole Akers’ pic

The girls received lots of hugs, love, and assurance this morning.

We talked about what they want to eat for dinner.

They want comfort food — biscuits and gravy.

We agreed making biscuits and kneading the dough would be therapeutic and a good time. It’s not the healthiest meal, but one I am glad to make an allowance for.

Breakfast is what’s on the dinner menu.

Now I’m wondering if I should pick them up from school to make breakfast for lunch.

And, I’m praying for the safety of everyone involved.

In these situations, the community itself proves to be the best first-line of defense.

For God’s sake…

If you #SeeSomethingSaySomething and call upon others to do the same.