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The Suburbanite
  • Adventures in Parenting: Are school shootings the new normal?

  • Q. I asked my daughter what she was taught to do if she heard a shooter was in the school while she was in the bathroom.


    A. Maggie’s answer? “Shooters might check underneath the stall door for your feet, so you stand on the toilet lid or seat and crouch down so they can't see you.”

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  • The Ohio shooting in Chardon Monday was the worst at a U.S. high school in 11 months, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.   
    Eleven months?
    When your child leaves for school in the morning, you probably aren't worried their life is in danger. Most likely, you are considering all the things you must accomplish, or rushing off to your workplace, or embarking on a day filled with average occurrences. Your child is at school, well and safe, ready to learn and socialize with friends. Another ordinary day has begun for your family. Or so you think. Because why wouldn't you?
    You certainly wouldn't expect not long after your child's arrival in the school building, they will be shot with a handgun by a fellow student. Because, why would you – in your wildest imagination– think something like this would happen to your child, at their suburban school, in your small community?
    However, on Monday this was the case at Chardon High School when student T.J. Lane allegedly shot five students, killing Daniel Parmentor  Russell King Jr., Demetrius Hewlin and injuring two others. Monday was not an ordinary day for the families of the five students, the Chardon High School student body and administration, and the community of Chardon, Ohio.
    It wasn’t an ordinary day in America.  
    Or, was it more common in our nation than we would like to admit?
    According to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence cited in a Reuters.com article, the Chardon High School shooting is the “worst at a U.S. high school in 11 months.”  
    Now we're compiling statistics on high school shootings in month intervals, not decades.
    How sad.
    At my daughter's suburban elementary school – just like so many other schools across the country – lock-down drills are conducted semi-annually, right along with fire drills and tornado drills. Maggie knows where to go in her classroom: on the opposite side of the room from the door, in a comfortable position, absolutely silent until the all-clear signal is given over the P.A. system. I asked her what she was taught to do if she heard a shooter was in the school while she was in the bathroom. Maggie’s answer? “Shooters might check underneath the stall door for your feet, so you stand on the toilet lid or seat and crouch down so they can't see you.”
    Maggie said she wasn't very worried it would happen, since it doesn't usually – just as a fire or a tornado doesn't usually happen while you're at school. But, she added, it was good to be prepared.
    Page 2 of 2 - When I mentioned such a drill didn't exist when I was a child in school, she was surprised. My daughter doesn't find it strange she and her schoolmates practice what to do in the event a shooter enters her school. Lock-down drills are a commonplace experience in her life as a student attending an American school.
    It's a possibility a shooter will come and murder her fellow students, maybe even my daughter. It's a possibility the person holding the gun might be one of her classmates. A very remote possibility.
    But, as we saw in Chardon on Monday, not remote enough.

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