The very first thing I read when I woke up this morning was a Facebook comment from a friend as far away as Switzerland, yes Switzerland about this topic!
“Is another Cary school going to inspire your next blog post?” he prodded. Attached was a link to my local newspaper explaining how a starter pistol would be used to fire blanks in a lockdown drill at my town’s high school.
The rationale from the high school’s administration was that students may not be familiar with the sound of gunfire. The Cary police department approved and would be involved. School counselors were on hand should the noises distress any students.
What my friend had been referring to was my tendency to focus on all things positive on School Zone, especially when it came to my own children’s schools. Just this Monday I highlighted the positive efforts by Cary Junior High to change the school climate and recognize children for exemplary character traits. My intent for starting School Zone has been to try to feature positive stories about education and parenting.
My initial response was not to post on the drill and I told my friend “how depressing, we have come to this. How did we get here?” I would leave that discussion to someone else.
I went about my day.
The more I reflected on it, the more I thought it would be wrong not to write. I decided I was looking the other way, putting my head in the sand, and all other possible clichés for ignoring the reality of why one might need a “code red- active shooter drill.” I didn’t want to acknowledge the possibility that what happened at Sandy Hook could happen at my children’s school. It is terrifying to think of your children being in any kind of threatening situation ever, but especially while at school. I didn’t want to spoil their innocence and their childhood.
Unfortunately, they don’t have the same luxury as we did – students of just a generation ago. Whether it is a movie theater, college campus, mall, high school, or even an elementary school- the reality is that another tragedy is likely to occur somewhere. Teachers, parents, and students must be prepared. Plans need to be made, and drills followed.
Cary is a close knit town. Residents are passionate about many things- school, sports, but most of all our children. I will leave others to argue the necessity of the gun shots. It does seem quite controversial. The point is at least there is a plan in place to follow.
My children are not at the high school yet, but will be soon. Today’s drill will provide an opening for a conversation that unfortunately has become an undeniable reality for today’s children, parents and educators.
Thanks to my friend Jim for the Facebook comment. (our interest in "journalism" dates back to our junior high days)
Please tweet, share, comment or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Don't forget to subscribe to School Zone! Facebook "likes" are very much appreciated!
If you would like to subscribe to School Zone, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.