We had a tornado drill yesterday. I know most of you do not have the opportunity to experience the reality and anxiety of being responsible for the lives and safety of fourteen children-are we all here?, anyone still in the bathroom? take roll, check again. Whew! And I know most of you have not recently experienced the joy of being crowded into a cafeteria with the whole student body- everyone from pre-K through high school. The noise and tension are incredible for the adults and the whole thing is a “big bore” for most of the older kids. However, high school students like to put on a fearless front even if they have concerns- most waved and seemed pleased to see their younger siblings present and accounted for.
I talked with some of my colleagues later and we recounted some of our earlier experiences with safety drills. We all have stories of children temporarily left in the bathroom or mixed in with another class- stories of tears and fears and lessons learned. But there have also been enough real emergencies over the years- in our own lives and on the news- for us to not take any of this for granted. A drill is only practice, but it is a practice we take seriously. We all need to know that if the unthinkable actually happens we have a procedure in place to keep us as safe as possible.
I have been involved in three “false alarm” emergencies- two of them bomb threats, but I have also been present for four real emergencies- a fire, a tornado, and two “non-custodial parent” problems- at four different schools, and I was quite grateful for the prompt and professional actions of everyone on campus. Another real experience wasn’t even at my own school! I was visiting a friend whose holiday schedule was different from my own. I wanted to see a couple of things she was doing in her classroom, so I was observing her when they received a bomb threat. In my concern for her class and helping get them out the door, I left my purse in her room!! The children were evacuated to a park and eventually bused home, but I waited with the teachers for over two hours before the bomb squad let us back into the building.
So I am happy to report that our campus is as ready as possible for an emergency. We practice our drills. We take them seriously. We strive to improve our methods and our timing. I feel like my little ones are safe. I hope their parents also feel that as long as they are with me I will do everything I can for them.
You be safe today! What would you do in an emergency???