In light of what has happened to the community of Sandy Hook Elementary School, I had to write something here. What I’m sharing here is plain and simple: my feelings.
I’ve been a classroom teacher for seven years and a specialist for six. I’ve been practicing lock downs in the public school setting for the past eleven years. We practice them twice each year, at different times than the typical fire drills. We also talk to the children in a class meeting about safety at school and why we must practice.
We aren’t instilling fear or anxiety, but after what has happened in Connecticut this past Friday, I think all schools will need to take a closer look at these procedures and what really is the best way to keep kids safe. Vicki Soto was a true hero, piling her kids into cabinets and closets. I kept thinking what would have happened at our school where all the classrooms connect to one another with adjoining doors? And no closets or cabinets to hide in? What would we do? Perhaps we should all GET OUT of the building and have a meeting place (the local church right next door?) Stay in place, or get the hell out? So many variables come into play and the best option could sometimes be the worst thing to do and vice versa. What would I have done?
Honestly, all schools need better security. Push a button and you are let in. A wink and a smile, a wave, a familiar face, someone who looks nice? All teachers should be wearing badges and all doors need to be locked. LOCKED DOORS. AT ALL TIMES. Why is it that my husband’s workplace has better security than our elementary schools? We need more layers of safety. I know how the killer got in, but that’s not the point. I care about safety measures. No one should have easy access to our nation’s children.
I can’t bear to turn on the TV. I’m trying to shield my three small children from unnecessary anxiety and confusion. Schools ARE safe places and they need not hear or see my reactions to Friday’s events. But I do worry that everywhere they go, they have a good chance of hearing about it – like at Church today. I had a feeling that would be the case today at mass, so I decided to only take the baby. With the mention of 20 funerals taking place this week for all the sweet children of Sandy Hook Elementary, the tears started streaming down my face. My two-year-old was keen enough to pick up on it and said, “You sad, Mommy?” It’s almost impossible to shield them. But we’re doing our best.
I cherished the noise, the strewn toys and the beautiful mess this weekend. I squeezed them harder and longer and I yelled less. I snuggled more and plastered them with kisses every chance I got. Why does it always take a tragedy to live better?
I’m sad. I’ll be sad at school tomorrow. It hits close to home. As I drove past our school today, all I thought about was how it could so easily have been this community. This needs to stop. Enough is enough. God bless all the families so deeply affected by this horrific tragedy. We’re forever changed as a nation, if you ask me.