The day after Sandy Hook, I dropped off my preschooler, got back in my car, and sobbed. I couldn’t force myself to drive away, so I parked illegally in front of the school doors and watched them like a fucking sentinel until the bell rang and I could walk back inside to pick her up. A crazed mother standing guard while her child was inside.
Last April, an emergency notification rang through my Do Not Disturb status while I took position on a morning yoga mat. The same child, my oldest daughter Ainsley, was in lockdown in her middle school while an active shooter shot 3 bullets into the ceiling over her locker. I flew barefoot out of the gym and drove 100+ mph to park on the street outside her school, now wrapped in yellow tape and barricaded by armed emergency personnel. A crazed mother standing guard while her child was inside, until she could be escorted under armed protection to our reunification zone.
“I went for the nearest open doorway. Other teachers were opening their doors to let more kids in.”
“Everyone was running and tripping over each other and falling down, Mom. It was kind of funny, but it really wasn’t.”
“I didn’t know I could hold still that long. We didn’t even whisper. We just knew.”
My kids have never been the victim of a school shooting; they are the waiting victims of every single school shooting. They know how to darken their phones so the glow doesn’t give their position away, they know to find the corner farthest from the doorway, they know teachers aren’t really supposed to open closed doors in case an innocent student begging to be let in is being used as bait. They know this. I knew how to throw a curved pitch in kickball when I was a 4th grader.
Don’t post your dismay and wring your hands in despair, take action. Sign petitions, demand elected officials do their fucking jobs, ask your school district what they’re doing to keep guns out of schools, not just teach kids to duck & cover and hope for the best.
Or it hasn’t been horrifying enough yet and we’ll do something next time. Tell me that’s not what we’re doing.