Thursday, August 22, 2013

A game I wish my daughter didn't have to play.

We live in a tiny Southwest Kansas town of 900 where it seems everyone knows everyone. DR and I have lived in 5 states and a variety of different communities and the one we live in now is by far my favorite! I've never lived in a community that looked out for one another like this one and where I've felt so very welcome. 

To top off living in just a wonderful community we just happen to live right across the street from Yip and Yap's school and two blocks from Yahoo's preschool. Any activity going on at the school, well, we have a front row seat for. Any game night Rebel fans cars are parked all around our house. On prom night DR and I throw open the windows and enjoy all the oldie music the kids dance to. 
This school started off with no exceptions. A week before school started the parking lot was regularly full of teachers cars as they congregated for training and meetings. 

However, a few days before school though there was some activity that raised my eyebrows. The school parking lot was full of a dozen county police officers at 8:00 am. The officers, many that I knew, didn't seem distressed as they drove in, chatted and mingled together as they went inside. They spent the entire day in the school. What on earth could they be doing in the school ALL DAY? 

Later I found out from a friend, who works at the school, that (duh) the police officers were spending the day at the school doing what I guess you would call a training procedure with the teachers. A couple of the officers were the "bad guys" and the others went through the school, room by room, in formation just as they would if an intruder were to come into the school. Then they showed the teachers if such an event occurs where students should go within each classroom. Our school is teeny tiny and logically I know that a school shooting here is extremely unlikely but I also understand that school administrators, understandably, feel the need to take precautions. (We have a GREAT superintendent by the way!) 

I didn't think much of the safety training and procedures being put in place at the school though. My boys are old enough, almost 9, to understand about why such procedures need to be in place. Sometimes dangerous people show up in schools. I haven't discussed with them in any detail the deaths of Sandy Hook or Columbine students. We've routinely discussed what to do if a stranger tries to take you and things along those lines of course, so they have a healthy level of, I don't know if I'd call it fear, but preparedness.

What really hit me in the heart this week was Yahoo coming home from preschool, which is right next to the boys' elementary school, and she was telling me about the "Intruder Game" they played at school. My heart skipped a beat.

"What's the Intruder Game?"
I asked with my heart in my throat. 

Yahoo happily skipped down the sidewalk and innocently answered, "My teacher says "Intruder" and then we all go hide in the bathroom." What really hit me was that there was no fear whatsoever in her voice. Yahoo is more scared of ants biting her feet than she is of an intruder in school. She doesn't understand what it is they are preparing for.

I don't know how I feel about this Intruder Game honestly. Oh, I think the teacher is doing a great job and preparing them for a highly unlikely event with as little drama as possible and that's fantastic. 

But I'm conflicted. Should I be thankful and relieved that this class of four year old's are so very innocent that preparing for a school shooting is something they have to do by playing a game? Or should I take all of this school preparedness as a sign I need to speak to my kids more about preparing for violence against them? In my heart I feel that they need to stay innocent as long as possible. I don't want to scare them. I don't want to put those images in their head they they'll worry about. I don't want them fearful where ever they go. But I also want them prepared. Or maybe I shouldn't worry about them being prepared for violence but lovingly provide them with the social and emotional support so that if they are affected by violence they'll have a network to fall back on. 

What is your school doing different this year? Any thoughts? Concerns? 


  1. Sad times. On one hand, I'm glad the all teachers are considering what they will do if the unthinkable were to happen, and it seems it was handled in a keeping-the-innocence-as-much-as-possible kind of way. On the other hand though, as a parent I would want to know it were happening beforehand, and told how they were going to go about it.

    1. I'm sure if any parent goes into a school and asks about safety procedure they'd be more than happy to answer any questions. It is sad that these precautions are being taken all over the country.


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