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Fallout From A Lockdown

Just a couple of loose ends from yesterday

Click here to read about it via the news.

What a relief it was to come home from work (an hour early) yesterday so I could see (and hug) my son before I had to head off again, for my Wednesday night spin class.

Great feeling? When I walked into the family room from the garage and heard his size 12 feet running down the stairs from his bedroom to hug me.

Great feeling? When I found out that two of his really good friends from the Boy Scout Troop, each of whom goes to a different high school in the other district in our town, were texting him during the whole ordeal to check on him. I’m talking about fifteen texts from one of them. How sweet is that?

Not-so-great feeling? In discussing what had happened, there were two things that disturbed me enough that I had to zip off an e-mail to the principal. I’ll just let you read it, along with her nice response.

First, of course, my note:

Dear *Insert Principal’s Name Here*,

I know that today has been a long day for you and, probably, the last thing you want to do is read e-mails about it, but I want to get this out before I let it go and never get it done at all.

First, I’m really glad that everybody was safe today. That was a major relief.

I wanted to let you know that my son had a substitute in his English class (1st period) today; I don’t know her name but she was subbing for *Insert English Teacher’s Name Here*. The Boy told my husband and me that this substitute did not have any idea what the “Lockdown Protocol” was. To us, that is unacceptable in a high school in today’s world. I’m not sure who is responsible for training or screening substitutes before they work any amount of time at the high schools, but I think that there should be some follow-up on this issue; as we learned today, you never know when or where a lockdown is going to happen. For the kids in that classroom–already worried–to have a substitute who doesn’t know the emergency routine, that makes things a little more scary for them, in my opinion.

The Boy also told us that only the African-American students in his classroom were searched. This is probably a police issue and not yours, but I am not sure of the logic of this and wanted to make you aware. Regardless of whether the two suspects were confirmed by one or more witnesses to be African-American, I would think that, in a lockdown situation where nobody is able to leave the building, it is quite possible that a weapon could be in safe keeping with a friend of another race, right? The thought of The Boy’s best friend (who is African-American) and the other four African-American students in his classroom being searched while the other students of other races were not was really disturbing to me. (A sidenote: The Boy said that some of his friends in other classes told him that everybody in their rooms was searched; I think that’s a bit inconsistent for a safety situation like this.)

I know that you have only certain things under your control and I am certainly not criticizing you or the way the school staff handled things; on the contrary, I think that you all did everything within your control and, after all, everyone is totally safe. For that I am grateful. I just wanted to let you know about those two issues so that should this–God forbid–happen again, you will have these considerations in your protocol where you can.

Thank you very much; I hope you can relax a little bit today!

Sincerely,

Melisa with one S

Her response was quick (I was surprised; thought she’d be totally wasted by mid-evening):

Melisa, I couldn’t agree more re: the substitute issue. I will look into this asap. The search was to be of every student, according to *Insert Town Here* police. The rationale for searching everyone was that if the gun were real it would have been passed to anyone. I will pass this information on the *Insert Town Here* PD. We did have several different jurisdictions helping with the search but they all should have conducted the searches in the same manner. I thank you so much for your comments. Thank goodness we had practiced lock down drill in Sept. I hope we never have to do this again. *Insert Principal’s Initials Here*

*Insert School Secretary’s Name Here*, Will you look into an information sheet and review of the information for all subs, please? Thanks.

I was so freaking annoyed about the search that went on in his classroom. I felt pain in my heart for his best friend, a boy I ADORE. I am angry that the idiot officers who happened to search that classroom perpetuated a stereotype. I told the 16-year-old this morning that, if he and his buddy talk about this, I want him to let his friend know that I sent this note to the principal because I was outraged for him and for the other four. Arghhh!

On the bright side, I’m glad the principal was quick to respond, and if her secretary really does get something going for the substitutes, well then I guess I’ve done a good deed by initiating that idea.

All in all? I’m relieved it’s over and hope it doesn’t happen again. There’s always hope, right?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • House of Jules December 11, 2008, 1:08 pm

    I’m still infuriated over that whole search profiling thing. If I was any one of those boy’s parents I’d be knocking down some police station doors today. What year is this?! So glad the whole ordeal wasn’t like other school shootings across the country, though… and I hope that the school does some work on positive reinforcement for the entire student body to keep reporting suspicious behavior. It’s scary times out (and in) there.

  • Mom24 December 11, 2008, 1:28 pm

    My heart aches for that boy and the others as well also. That is so sad…and ignorant…and sad. I’m glad you acted. That’s all you can do.

  • Face December 11, 2008, 2:02 pm

    I’m with Mom24. Glad you acted on it and amazing that the principal got right back to you.

    What a horrible situation that was. Glad everyone is ok though.

  • Mags December 11, 2008, 3:11 pm

    I’m outraged by the profiling too-I just can’t understand the logic. And the poor kids who had to be searched in front of their peers. How humiliating?

    I’m thankful you wrote that email.

  • Dea December 11, 2008, 3:56 pm

    Profiling is so detrimental to the safety of us all! I’m so sorry his friends were subjected to that. I don’t care if it happened in one classroom or half or all, it shouldn’t happen at all – like you said, the gun could be passed to another student, regardless of what race the original identification was made. Our government (local and federal) encourages this, though, and strengthens it, unfortunately. I hope that our kids will see it decline more sharply than we have in our lifetime.

  • stACEy December 11, 2008, 6:36 pm

    I am so glad you sent that. that was such a wise insight for your son and you guys too.

    glad he is all safe and sound, I won’t comment about the african american boy being searched, two steps forward, one step stagnant. πŸ™

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins December 11, 2008, 7:11 pm

    SO happy to hear everything was OK. I can’t imagine what those four hours were like for you as a parent!

    BTW – got my holiday “package” in the mail. I was over the moon with my little gift. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You truly deserve to wear that tiara!

  • Melissa December 11, 2008, 7:38 pm

    Well you know, Melisa…white people don’t carry guns, right?

    What the heck kind of thought process makes the above statement work in anyone’s mind is beyond me.

    The school and the police department(s) owe these kids a big apology…while I understand things were crazy and they were work working by the seat of their pants would it have taken any more time to search everyone?

    Good for you for standing up. I hope you see some changes. This situation was awful enough, to add racial profiling on top of everything is simply adding insult to injury.

  • Momo Fali December 11, 2008, 10:03 pm

    I am so glad everyone is okay, and that you sat down to type out that e-mail. I am equally glad that the principal got back to you quickly. What you described is inexcusable.

    P.S. When I meet you, I’m going to give you the hugest hug EVER.

  • k a t i e December 11, 2008, 10:26 pm

    Ditto, ditto, ditto – shocked, appalled and utterly saddened about the ‘profiling’. Honestly – can’t even being to sum up how sad that makes me.

    It’s great to read the 16yr old – and yourself – and all the commenters – all agree. Let’s hope there’s some sort of apology.

    So glad he’s safe, and you handled it brilliantly. Back to the usual – ‘I want to be just like you when I grow up!’

  • Jennifer December 12, 2008, 2:55 am

    Oh. My. God.

    I just got caught up on these 2 posts. First Thank GOD your son is fine. Thank GOD nothing bad happened and it was “only” an airgun. Thank GOD.

    The whole search thing has me absolutely nauseated. If I were a parent of those poor kids, man that PD would be sorry they ever saw the whites of my eyes. And believe you me…they’d be seeing them!

    Bravo to you for standing up for what is right and for being a voice for those kids. We can only hope that yours is not the only voice heard.

    Again – I am so very glad that your son and all of the other kids are okay.

    Jennifer

  • Sue December 12, 2008, 3:16 am

    Good for you, Melisa, to send an email and not debate back and forth about whether to send it! If she is a good principal (I will give her the benefit of not knowing her) than I am sure she took your 2 points to heart and got right on fixing them.

    Hope school was back to regular old boring today πŸ™‚ and you still got a hug he got home!

  • Mrs4444 December 12, 2008, 3:43 am

    Wow-That search thing? Incredible. We still have a long way to go, I guess. Your letter was beautifully written, and I appreciate her response. All of that said, although your son’s sub didn’t know what to do at first, I’m surprised that that would upset kids. After all; they do the drills a few times per year and should already know what to do (assuming that his school follows state mandate.) I would expect them to laugh at her (not taking the lockdown seriously at first) but not be worried. Could that just have been a flip comment? I feel badly for them if they genuinely felt scared because of a sub’s incompetance. And THAT said, our subs are required to familiarize themselves with ALL emergency procedures, and we teachers are responsible for making sure those are in our sub folders. Give your boy a hug for me, too!!!

  • Melisa December 12, 2008, 4:21 am

    I was really careful to word my e-mail so the Principal wouldn’t read it as a rant in any way, because I really didn’t have a beef with her. I was honest; I thought that, under the circumstances, most of what went on seemed to go really well.

    And Mrs4444, you’re right: I don’t *know* if any of the kids were scared because of the sub not knowing the protocol; all I truly know is that, according to my son, she let on/said that she wasn’t sure what was supposed to happen, and that my son was highly peeved about that. I do think it is possible, though, for assorted students to be a little more freaked when a sub lets on that she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do. At any rate, I’m glad that the Principal is looking into this; what you mentioned about having emergency procedures in the sub folders at your school seems to not be happening at this school, so if I initiated an action related to this, I am thrilled.

    Sometimes it takes things going wrong to make changes to get ’em going right, right? πŸ™‚

    Thanks for all of your great comments! Tomorrow? A long and winding story that has nothing to do with lockdowns. Yippee!

    xoxo

  • Michelle December 16, 2008, 9:41 pm

    Eek! I’m glad that you wrote that note. I’d also include a note to the police department letting them know what you were told, as there is a great deal of merit to your concern. And someone owes those boys an apology — and I hope it’s the principal who starts that. Yuck!

    We’ve had lockdowns a few times in the past year in our district, but luckily(?) only because of armed robberies in the area that had suspects near schools. I hate people.