What Lockdowns are for, According to My Daughter

“I just remembered something that happened at school today, ’cause I told Mace ‘I’m gonna have a good story to tell my Dad!'”

We were sitting at Friendly’s having ice cream while Edward was off at Taekwan-do finally getting his green belt, and Ruby had finally remembered something that had happened at school, other than “nothing” or “good,” which are the usual responses to questions about 2nd grade life. Mace, by the way, is her best friend. “Okay,” I said with an eager smile, “what?”

“At lunch today, one of the teachers burnt some toast, and it set off the fire alarm, and we all had to go outside, and the fire trucks came!”

“Oh wow, I bet that teacher felt a little silly.”

“Yeah. It’s a good thing it happened at lunch, although I suppose that would be a normal time to burn toast. Mace said it was sort of a real fire, because something was really burning, but there wasn’t any actual fire.”

We talked about the sort-of-real fire for a bit, and then the conversation moved on to include lockdown drills. Now, I am very curious as to what my children think of these products of our time and age. We didn’t have lockdown drills when I was a kid, and my greatest fear with regards to these drills is, well, fear. I don’t want my children being afraid all the time. And locking the doors, shutting off the lights, and silently hiding in closets or under desks has the possibility to be somewhat frightening. So I asked Ruby if they had ever had a “sort of a real” lockdown.

“Ummmmm, many years ago, like ten years ago, they had a sort of a real lockdown.”

“They did?” I asked. “What happened?!”

“Well, one kid forgot about the no animals in school policy, and they brought in their pet skunk that had been de-smelled for share time. But the principal didn’t know it didn’t have any smell, so she freaked out and hit the lockdown button. So that was a sort of a real lockdown, because there was a skunk in the school, but it didn’t stink.”

“Ah, I see. Soooooo, lockdowns are to protect you from…smells?”

“Yes. Like one other time there was a real lockdown, because an oil truck fell over outside the school and spilled oil everywhere, so they had a lockdown from the fumes, but that was before I went there.”

“So you’re saying that whenever there is a bad smell, you have a lockdown?”

“Well, actually, lockdowns are just for whenever you want to to hide from something. Something bad.”

“So not just smells?”

“No. Also bears. If a bear got into the school, we would probably have a lockdown. But not a moose! I don’t think we would have a lockdown if a moose got into the school, because you don’t hide from mooses!”

At this she started giggling, and so did I. I was immensely relieved. I don’t know what you are telling the kids over there, 2nd grade, but I approve. Every time I hear the words “lockdown drill,” I imagine gunmen roaming through the school shooting at my terrified children, huddled in the corner under a desk. And I never want my kids to have to imagine this scenario. But they don’t. Apparently, they imagine a smelly bear of some sort. And that’s just fine with me.

Posted in Bear, Edward, Fire Drill, Guns, Ice Cream, Lockdown Drill, Parenting, Ruby, School, Taekwan-Do.

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