It does not matter what material possessions you have, you cannot teach a material object to do anything beyond its natural ability. Oil does not naturally flow uphill, gold does not learn, and money expresses no emotion. Children have exuberance, have a willingness to acquire knowledge, and show a wide range of emotions. We are the future of our ancestors, as our children are our future. Our parents, protected, fed, clothed and loved us. Life and circumstances were different, but essentially, it was our ancestor’s teachings and experiences that produced the people that we are now. Our parents were not perfect, and neither are we, but rich or poor, our children need our protection, our guidance and most of all, our love.
Over the centuries, our great country was engaged in comparatively few wars, and blessed with abundant natural resources. America today is a superpower, but we are threatened by diseases, world conflict and acts of aggression. Terrorism threatens not only us, but also our children. As youngsters ourselves, we never consciously thought that a fellow student would bring a firearm to school and shoot, maim and kill classmates. Today, sadly, violence in schools and work is commonplace.
As a parent, you want only the best for your child. We send them off to school believing they are safe. We go to our jobs subconsciously thinking we are in relative safety. Then we hear the latest news, “Shots fired, students killed, campus is under a shelter in place order.” No, we cannot always be there to protect our loved ones, but we can and should at least provide them with emergency supplies so that if or when a terrible situation such as this occurs, they will be prepared.
Years ago during the cold war and the Cuban missile crisis, children were taught to “Duck and Cover.” This was a senseless attempt to protect children in classrooms by teaching them to duck under a desk and to take cover from a nuclear blast. In those days some protection, even from that of a nuclear explosion, though futile, was considered better than nothing. In today’s world, we worry less about a foreign country delivering a nuclear attack and more about the student with a grudge. Now, it seems that we have more government and law enforcement personnel than students, and yet, school crises’ are occurring more frequently. Shelter in place orders abound. Schools, colleges, universities and workplaces are all preparing for that dreaded breaking news.
Put yourself in the child’s place, where you have to go through security to enter your school, being constantly monitored (’for your own safety”), and now you are in a lockdown situation. What do you do? How would you prepare? The answer is up to the parents, educators and law enforcement agencies. Every school and campus must be prepared with quality lockdown kits. Emergency disaster preparedness must be done in advance of a situation, not during or after.
When a school turns to war zone
Imagine that you are in this situation. When a school is under a shelter in place order, the lockdown could last for several hours. With the possibility that the perpetrator is in the hall, closet or another classroom, leaving the classroom is forbidden. You have no food, no water, and no bathroom. You would be under extreme stress, while the shots are fired, and bullets are ricocheting off the walls and lockers, echoing throughout the building. The smell of gunpowder burns your nose and the screams of faculty and students deafen your ears. Maybe you slipped on some blood of a fellow student or teacher. Was that a body you had to step over? The screeching of sirens and bullhorns, and the yelling of first responders add to the chaos. The flashing of emergency vehicle lights reflecting off the windows and seeing hundreds of law enforcement with their weapons drawn and pointing at the school (you), heightens your fear. Imagine being a teacher with 25 or more terrified crying students in the classroom for several hours. Imagine this real life situation as if you were a child.
How long can you hold your water after 2 or 3 cups of coffee? Think of the children; the fear and the trauma of the event, and then compound that with the embarrassment of wetting or soiling himself or herself. People must have a place to go or unsanitary conditions could develop, potentially affecting other students with disease from human waste. Have a classroom lockdown kit in the classroom for just such a possibility. You may never be in a war zone, but your children might be – in their own school.
Written in memory of all the children who perished under these and similar circumstances. Let us rise up and honor those young lives and prepare others who may face the school war zone.