I had missed the first message. So when she wrote that she was frightened, I thought it might be in response to some video she watched. Nope, her high school was in lockdown. She was seeking more information.
I got on a Facebook list for the parents of Albany school children. I also reached out to a news anchor I know, all of us sharing what little we knew.
As it turned out, a kid came to school with a BB gun, looking to retaliate against somebody about something. The student did not come in through the standard security entries. A person let the student in through a side door. The school notes: “While our investigation indicates there was no malicious intent in allowing the student entry to the building, this was a serious breach of our security protocols.”
What made both my daughter and at least one other child in the school nervous was the lack of seriousness her classmates took the event. Many of the students were very loud throughout the lockdown. Also, often the classroom window on the doors were not covered so anyone could look in and see all the students. Both of these issues made them feel vulnerable to an attack.
Of course, when their kids are anxious, parents can’t help but feel the same, along with a dollop of helplessness. Because they have no idea what’s happening, another child believed someone was going to hear them and rush in firing.
Technically, the lockdown lasted 33 minutes, followed by 27 minutes of “hold in place”, which, in the lingo, means people stay where they are, and do not change classes. Activity within classroom can go on, however.
This took place on the same day a 14-year-old planned to commit violence at an Indiana middle school. The police were tipped off and the boy, after firing at some cops, ended up killing himself.
Also that week bomb threats were emailed to multiple locations across the country, including schools, trying to extort the targets unless they paid a Bitcoin ransom.
The next day was the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, during which 20 first-graders and six educators were killed. Naturally, the school needed to evacuated after a bomb threat.
According to an April 2018 Pew survey, a majority of U.S. teens fear a shooting could happen at their school, and most parents share their concern.
It is a scary world, and parents are often powerless to credibly say, “It’ll be all right.”