Today was supposed to be “Christmas Party Day” for most of my children. There were cookies to trade, and crafts to bring home, Santa’s to color, and a sugar over load in store for all the little children but out of nowhere school was cancelled! Well, not out of nowhere. A combination of the flu and some phony threats have closed the doors.
Wednesday I had to run to another town, about an hour away, and it was bad luck from the get go. My cell phone died, and my husband had yet to replace the car charger he had broken the week before, so I was on a long stretch of highway with no phone when my car decided to break down. I’m not sure how I fixed it. To tell you the truth I yelled at it, slammed my fist on the steering wheel, and like movie magic she cranked back up. Then we repeated that scenario about 4 more times. I finally made it to a Family Dollar store where I ran inside and bought a phone charger.
I got the phone restarted and text messages started spooling in. “Mom, there is a threat at the junior high, someone said they were going to shoot it up. Get Dylan.”
Great, the one day I leave town, and there is drama. Then she texted me again. “No, it’s the elementary school. Get the little kids.” So I messaged her back, “I’m out of town!” And promptly called the school. Of course they were diligently working to ensure everyone’s safety, and I was fairly confident that indeed, these threats were rumors, still, I couldn’t quiet the grumbling in my stomach. I felt sick knowing I was an hour away. Blondie offered to go get all the kids and take them home, but I struggled with what to do. Do I let rumors scare me, or do I take every threat seriously? Hard to decide. The one thing that kept me wondering was an encounter I had earlier that morning in the pawn shop.
A man there was desperately trying to buy a gun, but the system you have to be cleared through was down. Apparently everyone in the country is in a hurry to build their arsenal’s before the laws change. This guy was certain it couldn’t be a hunting rifle or a single shot gun, it had to be an assault rifle, that could fire multiple rounds, and he had to have it that day. After about 30 minutes of hearing him try to find a loophole, a way around the system, I started to get the creeps, so when I got messages about gun threats, chills ran through me.
When I got home I did run to the junior high because my son wasn’t feeling well. Seeing the school locked down, and how carefully they answered the door put my mind at ease, and I didn’t worry about sending them to school on Thursday. I did have a moment of panic on the way to school though, and I paused to remind them all of the importance of following directions, of doing exactly what their teachers say at all times, because silliness in the hallways these days could actually impede their safety. I guess the days of being the class clown have officially ended. What’s the world coming to when you have to talk to your children about hiding in bathrooms and being very quiet if the bad guys come knocking?
All day Thursday I thought about that conversation with my children, and how ludicrous it is to worry about our children at school. Just to get into the 4th grade play they were checking parents in one by one. No more walking through the doors all together, socializing and finding seats as a crowd- there wasn’t any fun and games- it was all checking ID’s and pre-registering to see your kid dance with reindeer.
On the bright side, my son Tucker was a dancer in the play. I would have never imagined he’d try out for anything that brought attention to him in that way. He surprised me by trying out. He shocked me by making the cut, and I was in awe when I saw the performance. All day I waited to pick him up to tell him how proud I was to have seen him dancing, spinning little girls round and round, and when I finally got to pass out my compliments, he beamed!
I’m so glad that wasn’t cancelled too. It was sad that the kids all missed their parties today, but they were happy to start Christmas vacation, and I hope the ridiculous people using a tragedy to call in prank threats get some big wake-up calls before school starts back. What happened to those children should never be exploited. That’s like a slap in the face to the families dealing with real tragedies. And besides, we can’t just go around cancelling school every other day, I had shopping to sneak off and do! But that’s a headache for another entry…