Friday, March 09, 2007

Sad Sign of the Times

I know what fear is. All my life I have been afraid of things - some irrational, some not - but I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, that pounding heart, that overwhelming sense of dread. But never in my life did I feel fear at school (except for a tornado drill in 2nd grade that freaked me out a little). I never felt unsafe at school, never worried that I would be harmed or, worse, killed.

Times are different now.

Yesterday Darling Daughter (who is in 7th grade) was absolutely terrified to go to school. It seems that rumors started swirling on Wednesday that gang members would come into the school on Thursday and shoot anyone that was wearing red or blue. EVERYONE was talking about it. The teachers had called a faculty meeting about it. The school officer was on high alert (we didn't even have a school officer when I was in school!).

My first thought was, "Well, just don't wear red or blue tomorrow!", but looking into her tear-filled eyes, I knew that this was very real to her. She was truly afraid.

Of course this was real to her. She has grown up hearing tales of Columbine and other school-shootings; along with tornado drills and fire drills, the schools now also have lock-down drills. More than once has an area school been sent into lock-down for various reasons. When Navy Son was in high school they went into lock-down for hours because of some shooting or knifing threat. She knows that these things do happen, and they can happen here in our suburbian bubble just as well as they can happen in the inner city. My daughter did not want to die at school.

After a phone call to the school I was assured by both the counselor and the principal that they were, indeed, aware of the rumors and they were just that: rumors. Nonetheless, the school security was prevalent on Thursday, and there were no incidents. Darling Daughter did not wear red or blue anyway, just in case. She was nervous all day. My heart ached for her.

No child should have to be afraid at school; no child should have to worry that they will be gunned down for wearing the wrong colors. What kind of society have we created??


Navy Son said...

Yeah times are sad, very sad. And we didnt go into lock-down mode for a threat, some Asian kid stabbed somebody in the hall over a dispute. Remember when the gang members came to my bus stop and took pictures...yeesh

wendy bird said...

OMG! That is terrible! The worst thing that happened while I was in school was a fire/bomb threat. It was all fake...someone wanted to skip class and phoned it in.

Recently, my son has had some bully issues. He now wears his gym clothes under his school clothes so he doesn't have to go to the boys dressing room. The older kids were roughing him up.

Bubba's Sis said...

No wonder he missed P.E. 4 times! He was hiding!