"We get in the storage closet with
(teacher) and lock the door,” she told me excitedly. “Then we all sit on the
floor and practice being really
quiet. We did a great job, so we got animal crackers after the drill was
And then the conversation moved on to
another story she wanted to tell me. I cherish the drive home from school. I
can’t get her to stop talking about her day. I know at some point that will
change; so I don’t even try.
But oh how I wanted to cry! Because I
can't stand that there is a need for Code Red drills at elementary — or any — school.
My child just started Kindergarten in
August. There are many things that are new to us this year. But this? I can
That night, I had a “What has the world
come to?!” breakdown. Yes, I know; there is always going to be some form of
potential danger lurking and I can’t protect my daughter from everything.
But I am not ready for this.
Her innocence over the Code Red drill left me unsure as to how and when we should broach the subject.
We never talked to our daughter about
Sandy Hook. She was not quite 4 years old when it happened. Adults were
having a difficult enough time processing the event. How was she supposed to do
so? My husband and I discussed privately whether or not to talk to her about
One concern we had was if she heard
about it elsewhere and we hadn’t brought it up. If she was going to learn the
news, we wanted it to come from us. But since she was only in preschool, we
knew her teachers would not bring it up in the classroom. And it was very
unlikely any of her classmates would be aware of the situation.
In the end, we decided she was too
young, and the news had more potential to harm than benefit her in any way. We
kept the television off and our emotions in check (which was not easy) over the
We have talked to her about safety at
length; even role-playing various scenarios and helping her learn how to
respond. We don’t talk about, “stranger danger,” the popular term used for many
years, because recent research has shown it is not the most effective way to
keep kids safe. Instead, we focus on dangerous behaviors and improper actions.
We still have not spoken to her about
school violence specifically. I don’t want her to be afraid to go. She loves
Kindergarten so much. Her innocence over the Code Red drill left me even more
unwilling to burst that bubble and unsure as to how and when we should
broach the subject.
I am glad her school holds the drill
and prepares for what to do in the event of what can no longer be considered
“the unthinkable.” And I’m grateful to her wonderful teacher for presenting the
event in such a way that my daughter had no reason to feel fear or
But who can comfort me at the vision of
my child huddled on the floor of a supply closet in the face of real danger? Because I simply cannot
stand to think of it.