Monday, February 2, 2009
Kids need to practice many things at school in order to master them. They participate in countless activities to learn how to multiply, they must be told several times how to line up quietly at the door for recess, and they must also practice how to respond to several emergency situations.
When I was in elementary school, we did the standard fire and tornado drills. These procedures really boiled down to 15 minutes less of math and 15 minutes more to poke kids in your class or pick dandelions outside where you were 'safe' from the imaginary fire. Even though kids are so great at pretending, it's hard to get them to take these drills seriously. Since I have been in classrooms the past few years a new drill has been added-the lockdown. This is due all of the tragic events that seem to hit the news year after year about violence breaking out in schools.
For second graders, this drill means locking the door, turning off the lights and huddling on the carpet. Kind of similar to a slumber party, except I doubt kids would be working with math manipulatives and hundreds charts on a Friday night. During the few minutes that the kids need to be quiet and wait for the principal to give the go ahead that everything is clear, it gets hard for them to be quiet. And, like a slumber party, you hear little whispers.
I overheard one boy talking to another about his thoughts on the lockdown. He whispered to his neighbor, "Even though I'm not, I would use dynamite to into the school if I was a bad guy."
I highly doubt those words were comforting to the student next to him in the dark and quiet classroom. Some thoughts are better left unsaid.