In light of recent events in my children’s school district, I have decided to take a more active role in figuring out exactly what our administrations policies and plans are for such events as an active shooter or bomb in a school. I have inquired before on the most basic level. I wasn’t sure I liked the answers I was given, but I didn’t have a solution and I had nothing to offer, so instead of dealing with the school directly, I have worked with my children on what I want them to do in an emergency.
I feel like I am in perpetual catch up mode. There is so much I don’t know, so much I have to learn and trying to prioritize all of it to be sure that we are covering what is important and what is most likely to happen is a constant challenge. While I have spent a good deal of time talking with my kids about safety in school, it has not be the main area of focus, but because crime in our town is rising rapidly and there is enough suspicious activity in the schools to cause me concern, dealing with it has moved up to the top of the list.
I am extremely reactionary. If there is a situation good or bad, I react. One of my favorite things about my husband and John is they calm me. If I am excited, I am excited and I don’t always stop to see if this things is really good or not. An example would be when I was offered a chance to be interviewed for a company and I said yes without checking them out. My husband did check them out and he called me to say, “Babe, I don’t think you want to do this interview.” They were sort of a guns with porn kind of business. Nothing against guns and porn, but not how I want to represent myself.
If something bad happens, I want to skip all the logical steps and go right to fixing it. IE, showing up in a pawn shop parking lot alone and buying a gun I knew nothing about from a man I knew nothing about. We all know that worked out, but in hindsight, not a good choice.
Both my husband and John and to some extent Arete, help me to slow down and think, for myself. Rarely do any of them tell me what to do(they are men, so occasionally that protective nature comes out and I am strongly encouraged one way or the other), but instead they help me focus. By helping me be more aware of my choices and helping me make a conscious decision instead of simply reacting to a circumstance. That has been one of the most valuable lessons and fortunately, I am a quick learner. Now almost(recently I dropped the ball on this again, but again it turned out and again I learned a lesson) 100% of the time I check things out first and I have learned to slow down and think things through without needing to run to my husband or John. I still rely on them, of course, but it is becoming more of an exchange of thoughts and ideas instead of a “talk me off the ledge” kind of thing.
Yesterday I reverted back to reacting. After the 5th or 6th bomb threat this year at an area school, my first reaction was I need to get my kids OUT of public school. I called my husband and said, we need to talk about what to do with our kids. He agreed we should have the discussion again. Revisiting issues as new information becomes available I do think is good, but I was not really meaning lets discuss it, what I really meant was lets get them out.
As with every single parent a lot goes into the choices my husband and I make about our children. I have always wanted what is best for my kids and I have always actively thought about their lives and their safety, but clearly, I have made some serious mistakes in my choices. Guilt will occasionally still sneak in and try to influence me. I don’t believe guilt should ever, ever be a motivating factor in any of my decisions. It offers nothing constructive. I was also feeling fear yesterday. Not panic and it was not overwhelming, but I was anxious. I do think fear is helpful and can most certainly be a warning that there is danger, but for me, I don’t want it to be a part how I make my choices.
I posted on my AGirl FB page about the latest bomb threat and had lots of good discussion. One man pointed out that generally bomb threats are not carried out. People who are intent on doing harm don’t warn you(they do almost always tell someone, but its not a warning) Anyway, that realization snapped out of my unproductive thinking. I recognized that I was reacting instead of consciously choosing. I got on the internet and did some research and I spent sometime in meditation. Closed my eyes, didn’t pray, but was just still. Breathing, slowing down, thinking…consciously thinking.
After a while I decided that I had once again skipped a lot of steps. I went straight from things are manageable to crisis mode. I decided it would serve me and my children well if I took the time to find out if there was an even a problem with how the district is handling these bomb threats. I know they didn’t handle the notification correctly, but that is not a reason to pull my kids out of school. It is easy to assume, if they can’t even handle the simple task, how can they handle the big ones, but again that is reacting and not factual. What I need is facts. I need to find out exactly what the plan is and how they are implementing those plans. I know we have had threats, so it will be fairly easy to find out how they handled them during and after. At the very least, how they respond to my inquiries will tell me a lot.
As I said before I am more than pleased with the teachers and administrators in this district. My children have benefited greatly from the education they have received and my husband and I both feel like we are a team with them. We are very, very involved parents, so I feel like I have a good grasp on who these people are. I am well aware that the higher up I go the less cooperation can be expected(won’t know til I try) and I do know that the more serious the issues, the less likely they are to move. I am not expecting acceptable answers, but I am not going in guns ablazin’ either, no pun intended.
For the next several days I will be doing more research and trying to educating myself. My husband and I will have the meeting with the school officials, hear what they have to say and go from there.
***One resource that I have returned to again and again as I have discussed options with our kids is an article by Greg Ellifritz. I am not advising anyone to do anything. Obviously, I do not possess the knowledge or skills to offer advice, but it is a resource I have used and one that may or may not be helpful to others who might be on this journey with me.*** Edited…I forgot to mention that I first heard of Mr. Ellifritz when JD from Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns posted one of his articles. It was there that I found the article on dealing with a rampage shooting.
Just a natural reaction on your part. I do agree private schools are the best, but remember, they are EXPENSIVE. I have my grandchild enrolled in one (at my expense) and the security is top notch. They have never had a bomb threat. The level of education is second to none. As a first grader she teaches me Spanish. I’d eat beans 24/7 to keep her in the school.
She is so fortunate to have you(and visa-versa)!
If you decide to home school let me know, I can give some tips. the benefits are tremendous and there are lots of blogs dedicated to it as well. I had 4 homeschool kids. three went to college and graduated, one is a doctor.
Thanks I absolutely will if we go that route.
You can have a bug-out bag ready to go for emergencies. You can have plans. You can practice drills.
But the most important thing that you can have with you are your wits. How do you react in an emergency? Can you stay focused under pressure? In a time of crisis avoiding panic will be a strong asset.
I’ve been finding out throw issues at home that when things are bleak or depressing, I have the ability to go into a mode where emotions are void – just totally gone. It allows me to see things clearly and think things through without letting emotions get in the way.
I don’t know yet if that is good or bad – it is just how I’ve programmed myself. Through enough bad things in the past, I’ve learned to isolate the emotions until I can let them out. It generally means a breaking down point afterwards when it is safe.
For example, our daughter had a bad car wreck a few years ago and was transported to the hospital. We got the dreaded call from the hospital and my wife fell apart and got hysterical. I went into isolation mode and got her to think a bit. She was passenger, and I was robotic in my drive to the hospital at less than legal speeds (but safely and not stupid).
I was fine until the daughter got home and the wife was with her. Then I let myself let it all out.
I bring this up because it sounds like you let your emotions get the first action in those cases. Being emotional isn’t bad at all. But, being able to force yourself to put them aside and think it through is a skill that can be invaluable in a crisis mode. I urge you to continue work on that with John and Arete. You’ll still be you, but be better able to cope and think things through a LOT faster with those emotions and reactions set aside for the time being.
I’ve been through 2 school shootings – one as a junior high student, and one as an MBA student. The shooter in the first one was a friend of mine. I guess that is when I learned to stat compartmentalizing. But when I hear of bomb threats and shootings at schools, I find myself putting my emotions on the back burner and thinking things through first and I go into the scenario analysis mode all over again. If I didn’t, I probably would have gone nuts by now (NO COMMENTS FROM YOU on that lol). 🙂
Yes and no. Sometimes in a crisis I handle things like you. Calm and collected and deal until it is over. Sometime I don’t react at all. In things that are not a crisis, but are upsetting or a challenge, that is when I get spun up.
Thanks for sharing your personal story with the rest of the folks.
Your not too nuts:)
Having a plan is better than not having a plan, but I agree with you AGirl that knowing the key factors first is the way to go. I’m not where you’re at with kids in school just yet, but I’ll be watching to see what ideas you come up with!
I agree with CTone, naturally. I’m interested in what you learn and what you decided to do about it.
Ha, let’s hope something positive comes from all of this and you are not learning from my mistakes:)
When my oldest was entering 1st grade, two 3rd-graders “pretended” to rape another 1st grade girl in the boys’ room. I pulled her out of public school, and thereafter homeschooled both daughters. My youngest just finished high school at 16 with straight As, and has been working professionally as a pastry chef (her chosen field) for six months.
And now, having finished high school for the 3rd time, I’m truly done. 🙂 But let me know if you have questions about how it worked.
Thanks for the offer to help!! Appreciate it much!
I understand AGirl had previously home-schooled the two older kids, but there were reasons the three younger kids needed additional support of a more specialized school enviroment.I don’t think the question is to home school or not – the question is how to plan for the unexpected, especially when there are multiple people involved, i.e. care givers (family or otherwise), school administrators, coaches, etc…
We currently home-school and plan to continue to home-school – but there are still situations in which the kids MAY (as age appropriate) be left in the temporary care of someone else – say your 10 year old is on the local YMCA soccer team and your 8 year old has piano practice at the same time the soccer team does. Chances are someone else besides you or your spouse is going to be “in charge” of your kids for a brief period of time.
It is a good idea to talk with those people and find out what their emergency plans are. Unfortunantly in todays world evil is out there. In the metroplex area I am in there were recently white powder envelopes mailed to about 7 schools and day-care centers! Day-Cares!!
We have had bomb threats at local court houses and shootings at local court houses that are right next door to kids baseball fields and such. In my humble opinion – these are things that need to be discussed with anyone that will be overseeing your kids for any lenght of time. It is also not a bad idea to talk it over with your company, what plans does your management have if there were to be a threat?
Evil is going to happen- it is just a matter of when and where and how do you and your family respond to it?
Very well said! Very well. Thanks!
Excellent article by Greg Ellifritz.
He is good!
Brigid Jr. went to Columbine. The arrangement with her adoptive parents was I would keep my distance until she turned 18 and wished to meet me (or not, which I would respect). No contact whatsover, even though I always knew where she lived. And that was a little town in Colorado with a local high scalled named Columbine.
Unbeknown to me, they’d pulled her out of public school to be educated privately. It may have saved her life. But I did not know that, and that was a slow day in hell for me until the list of victims came out that fateful day.
Ask those questions. If you don’t like the answers get your kids educated where you do, even if you do it yourself.
Thanks Brigid. I did not know that. I can imagine how rough that must have been.
I am definitely going to ask the questions and take action if need be.
I teach at a university, while my main gal teaches at an elementary school… we have had many discussions over the years with each other, our daughter, and others we know about these victim zones we know as our schools…
Too much to discuss in a comment at the moment, but think about how many times you and your family are in a victim zone where guns aren’t allowed… how do you and your children plan to react there… at school… at home… ALL very good questions to consider, answer, and address…
Dann in Ohio
So much to way and consider. It is very clear for some folks and I respect that, but for us, we are still not sure if pulling them out is the answer.
I will say that I don’t much like the emergency procedures at most schools. For some things they are usually good, like fire drills. Active shooter, however… no. I keep an emergency/bug out bag in each of my classrooms and take some additional steps on my own, since when I have kids in class their safety is my responsibility.
That is awesome!! Imwsh more people who work in schools would have that kind of mindset. Good for you!
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