Last night, I had a few friends reach out and ask how I was able to send my oldest to school, knowing there was a threat of a shooting at our middle school.
The questions were respectful, and really just searching for my reasoning.
Y’all… it was so difficult. I think I may have said something about it yesterday.
However, I know our administration. I know our teachers. I know our resource officers.
All of them will do what they can to stop a shooting at school.
I’m sure you can say that of your administrators and teachers as well. I’m sure people would have said that about the administrators and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
That last sentence is what gave me pause yesterday… and again today.
However, what we have right now that officials in Parkland didn’t have is a known threat. We had a kid talking, a note… and guess what? Other kids told. They went to adults they trust in the school, and they told.
You could say they did in Parkland as well, but it wasn’t the same. They knew that former student was trouble, but they didn’t have a specific threat.
Before I go on, I want to be clear. Whatever decision parents are making for their kids… sending them or not… is the correct decision for their kids.
No one should get away with judging parents for doing right by their children.
I have been seeing awful comments on Facebook this week about different decisions made, so I wanted to be clear. If you are keeping your child at home… I think that is great. You are doing whatever you can to keep him or her safe. No one should fault you.
So, why didn’t I? For us, and I mean… FOR US… my husband and I feel like right now is the safest time. Everyone is much more aware right now, this week, then they ever have been… and they are always aware.
I did a visual inventory in my mind of all the teachers at that school, of the staff, of the administrators… not one of them would let their guard down. Not one of them would walk away from protecting the kids.
Let’s dig in to protecting our kids a minute: We do not let our kids sleepover at others’ houses. We did a few times when we moved here, but I felt sick every time and didn’t sleep. While I have moved on from my childhood, those scars still give me anxiety when it comes to the possibility that my girls will be harmed. I will know the person, and feel in my heart nothing will happen to my kids, but it doesn’t matter. My mom knew the first two abusers in my childhood, and trusted them completely. I just can’t let go of that.
I’m judged OFTEN about that. I mean… ALL THE TIME. People take it personally. While I get it… it is ridiculous if they take the time to know me. It has nothing to do with them. It has to do with me, with my abusers, with my situation. I couldn’t live with myself if one of my girls was sexually abused because I didn’t want to offend someone.
And, the parents not sending their kids to school this week: They know they couldn’t live with themselves if something happened to their child at school this week.
Almost half the kids in my daughters classes weren’t there yesterday.
I totally get it. I absolutely support that decision.
We can all benefit from more understanding, and ultimately empathy, for one another.
I sent my girl to school again today. I told her, just because nothing has happened does not mean you let your guard down. If she hears something… she NEEDS to say something. It will never, ever be nothing again. Administrators were aware of the threat because kids SAID SOMETHING. Students should continue to talk and rat out people who threaten their safety.
I will be substitute teaching there this afternoon. My senses will be on high alert.
The sad, but true, part of all of this is: This is our reality. It has been since April 20, 1999.
We will forever need to be on guard. Just like after 9/11 when our new reality became security check points and locked cockpit doors. At schools, kids need to be alert, teachers and staff too… and of course, administrators.
Right now, all of the above are on alert at our schools. This morning, for another day, our superintendent was standing out in the rain, watching us all unload our kids. (He is the blurry man in the above photo. I was trying to take the picture while not embarrassing my kid… who was mortified I was trying.)
For me, this is the safest time we have. The road is a long one, because it can happen at any time, and often it happens…