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Lions and Safety Drills

Today my son’s school had a safety drill. Yesterday they sent a letter home explaining the importance of the drill and the preparedness of the school if something were to happen and the school had to go on lock-down. The letter made me calm and anxious at the same time. I was glad the school had thought through such things but sad that it needed too. I still remember all too clearly the feelings last December from Sandy Hook.

I was curious how this safety drill would go in the eyes of my first grader. While the letter assured the parents that the drill would not be traumatic or scary, I wondered what he would think of the whole ordeal. So before he went to bed tonight I asked him.

He told me how the entire class huddled into a corner of the classroom and got into tiny balls. He described how the teacher put black plastic things over the windows on the doors. My stomach began to churn as I imagined the room full of kids acting out such a scene.

And then he said something that made me laugh.

“And my teacher said we have to be really quiet because if an animal got into our school, like a lion, we wouldn’t want the lion to know where we are. Which makes sense, except I think lions live in Africa so I don’t really think a lion will ever come into our school.”

I thought of a room full of 6-year-olds imagining a lion wandering the school hallways. I hoped they all sat there today in their tight little balls and thought, “Well, this is silly, I don’t think a lion will ever come to our school.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad my son’s school has a plan. I’m so glad the students practiced it. But I’m also glad my son doesn’t have to go to school every day wondering if today will be the day when the teacher has to cover the windows and the class will huddle in the corner for real.

Thank you teachers for knowing just what to say to put a kid (and his mom) at ease.