Headlines publicizing mass school shootings strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. The thought of our children being shot in cold blood in a place they should feel safe is paralyzing. Innocence lost is taking on a whole new meaning when “active shooter” drills are becoming apart of daily life in schools nationwide. One mom told me her story and what it felt like to see her own child participate in an active shooter drill . . .
A woman we will call Rose, a mother of two elementary aged girls serves as homeroom mom for her youngest who is a kindergartner at an elementary school in Austin, Texas. Rose is a Democrat who doesn’t have strong opinions about the Second Amendment. She just wants her girls to be safe at school.
Rose says parents were given prior notice that the drills would take place through an ambiguous email. Rose, serving as homeroom mom, was present for the drill to assist the teacher with the children.
“It was heartbreaking” she said, “I held back tears during the drill and then as soon as I left the room cried along with other staff members”.
According to Rose, the drill consisted of an alarm sounding with instructions to “lock down” the building on the intercom. The teachers first shut off the lights and lock their door. Then the children are instructed to remain “very quiet” as they huddle into a corner where the teacher’s desk is located (to use as a shield from bullets). The teacher then shields the group with her body as she verbally instructs the children to remain calm.
In Sandy Hook, librarian Yvonne Chech stated in an interview that during the shooting “We tried to make it a game and they asked do we get a prize? Yes, lots of candy, but you have to be quiet.”
Rose said the children were told “bad men” could come in the building. The school doesn’t elaborate.
Rose says that once the drill was complete a little boy in the class asked her, “if we just put a sign on the door to let the bad men know that we are in here, will they just go away and not try to rob us?”
What the boy didn’t know: that the bad men aren’t coming to rob him.
There’s a sign in front of Rose’s school that tells “bad men” not to enter the building with guns. At the same time, it’s telling them that the people inside have no way of defending themselves.
When I asked Rose if she thought schools should have armed security personnel, “the school should put the money from the PTA to better use than parties and events” she replied.
Rose lives in a wealthier district; the PTA brought in $100k in donations from parents last year. “Part of that money could be used to hire an off-duty police that I’m sure would love to supplement his income” she states.
It’s a sentiment that’s growing in popularity. Because both recent history and common sense say there are some things you can’t prevent. You can only prepare.