Thursday, June 1, 2017

Second-to-Last Day of School


I am at home with my kids.  This is not how I planned to spend today.  I was going to meet a friend for coffee, then make one last kid-free trip to Trader Joe's before summer vacation.  But no.

The phone rang at 6:15 a.m.  A recorded  message from the school district.  A shooting threat made against the middle and high schools.  Police presence, security guards hired.  All schools to remain open.  Contact the school office if your child will be absent.

I sat on the edge of the bed listening to my third grader pour himself some cereal.  My seventh grader was in her room brushing her hair.  I started weighing risk in my head and a thought came to the surface like a bubble released from the deep, dark ocean floor.  I should not have to be making this decision.

I took a breath to steady myself then told Valerie about the threat and that I would be keeping her home today.  She glared at me.  Her friends at school are the highlight of her life right now.

In the kitchen, Andrew asked, "Why?"  I said, "It's probably just a joke."  Then he asked if he could play Minecraft.

This is the first time since the kids have been in public school that a threat has been directly made at one of their sites.  I have wondered in the past if it would ever happen and how I would react.  Now I know.  I emailed absence notifications to the school secretaries.

I hate being in this position.  I want to let my kids be at school.  I want to trust that they will be safe.  But I cannot.

Most days I feel pretty resilient in this world.  Not today.

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