“Mommy, we did another lock-down drill in school today. You know why we do those, right? It’s in case a bad person comes in our school.”
That is what my 6-year-old said to me a couple weeks ago after school. She’s mentioned her fear of lock-down drills before. Apparently the teachers are very open about why they are doing them. They do the fire drills in case there is a fire, tornado drills in case there is a tornado, and now a lock-down drill in case there is someone dangerous in or around school grounds. It’s all in the name of safety, of course. But now, she’s scared just to go to school.
“I don’t want to go to school tomorrow,” she’ll tell me. “In case someone bad comes to get us.”
“No one is going to get you,” I always reply.
I tell her these words to comfort her, to keep her excited about going to school. But in the back of my mind, I have my own fears and doubts about her safety.
She loves school. She loves her teachers, her friends, learning new things. Yet, she’s left with this unwavering fear as she walks through those doors every single day. A 6-year-old is scared to go to school. And it’s not because of bullies or because she doesn’t want to leave me for the day — it’s because she’s scared someone is going to come into her school to hurt her.
The sad part is, the fear is not unjustified. To be honest, I’m terrified of the exact same thing everyday when I drop her off. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t take her in my arms, give her a kiss, and then think to myself, this could be the last time.
She’s in the first grade, just like those poor children at Sandy Hook. Our town is just a few towns away from theirs. Our school has several security measures to make sure something like that doesn’t happen. But so did theirs.
I try to keep her sheltered from the news outlets, from the shootings that we hear about all the time now. But she’s old enough that I can’t protect her from everything. She hears it from her friends, reads it on the front of the morning paper. She’s not oblivious to it anymore. She knows the reality: that we now have to worry about these kinds of things.
What a sad and horrifying reality it is.