Monday, June 30, 2014

School Shooting, what would you do? a mock shooting training

I screamed, wrestled, and wailed and they arrested me

The school is on lock-down, there has been a shooting. I received the text from the school where my kids attend. With pounding heart in my mouth, trembling and legs like weakened noodles (I had a hard time running!), I pulled in behind the cop after seeing a father with a bat approach him. I searched my car for a formidable weapon, but came up empty.

After wedging my car behind the officer who blocked the road, I jumped out and dashed past him, but he caught me. The school seemed abandoned and eerily quiet--so quiet I could only think of one thing: To. Get. In!

I was the crazed parent, my time of arrival at 10:17, June 28th. My four kids were participants with given assignments at different parts of the school building. As we lined up for the authorities to give us our designated roles, I noticed the makeup artists dabbing kids with blood-red paint and black and dark brown--the color of wounds that killed.

My 17 year old (yo) needed to act out as a panicked student, and my 14 yo to hide quietly in a corner. I watched the group of kids follow the leaders into the school along with my two younger children for them to set the stage.

Excitement literally hung in the air and my wild mind recalled the many shootings I have broken over these past several years. It would not be difficult to act the assigned part of a crazed parent. It was so easy to act the exact role they wanted from me ...



As my time approached having parked close-by, I counted down, anxious. I arrived, and the first thing I noticed was a police car skewering the road with lights flashing. He ambled back and forth, eyes alert. My heart sank. So, it's true. Something horrific has gone down ... A father pulled up, bent into his car, and pulled out a bat. What a great idea! I should have brought my gun, I thought. I watched the father march with purpose toward the school but the officer stopped him. No, what are you doing! Will he stop me, too? I counted down.

10:17. Finally, was my turn.

I switched the ignition on and nosed my car between the curbside and the officer’s car. I locked the car and shoved my keys into my pocket along with my phone and eyed the school. It was devoid of parents and kids and teachers. It was too quiet and my heart raced.

Another officer’s car stabbed crosswise from the opposite end of the school. My adrenaline kicked high and I moved fast. The nearest officer saw me, and told me I could not go to the school. Determined, I told him my four kids were in there and I needed to see if they were okay--I wanted to be with them. He reached out, insistent, and I jumped back, his hands came at me again. His grip slid as I wrenched from him. I darted for the school: the father with the bat was occupying him.

All I could think was: My kids are in there. The shooter is in there. I want to go in and find them. I will stop the shooter! I ran to the first door, my legs so weak I didn't think I could run successfully, shoes threatening to fall off. Locked! My breath pounded and I tried the next door down, about four yards away. Locked! Tears jamming my throat, legs weakened noodles—cliched yes, but Oh. So. On. Target—I staggered for the front door. Images of horrific proportions stabbed my wild imagination! A handful of Certs guarded the main entrance, they lifted their eyes to me as I barreled around the corner.

I cried out, shouting that my kids are in there, please let me in. I want to see if they’re okay! They surrounded me, hands out. I dashed around them for the door. That’s when they handled me. Holding me captive. I wriggled and wrestled and wrenched from their grip--blinded by sheer panic--and made it to the door! It’s open! Yes! Just getting it three inches wide, cool air and silence sailed past me.

But soon, three of them ambushed me and I lost my battle to gaining my children.

I wailed and shouted incoherent threats. “Let me go or I’ll sue you!” “He’s in there killing my kids! Let me in and I will kill him!” “I will distract him!” “Where are my kids!” Oh, boy. I felt it deep in my bones. I was in a feral and panicked state my one thought was to get in to my kids. Finally, after many attempts, they subdued and handcuffed me. “Ha! As if these will stop me!” They led me away from the doors as I screamed, but once realizing I was cooperating, I dropped down and refused to move.

I refused to cooperate

As it was only a training, and as the students emerged after meeting with necessary personnel, everyone gathered for closing remarks. They did tell me that they would not have hesitated to have tasered me. There would be more of everything: more officers, more students, more parents. More, more, more.

Father with bat, my 14 yo son on forefront with his friends

Training Team calming frightened students on tarps

I did come out with a bleeding scratch on my elbow from the officer and bruised grip marks from the Certs. It took three of them to take me down, they said. I was shocked to hear that because I was in such a wild state of being.

While parents feel completely torn and desperate to be with their kids, to know if they are alive and safe, it is important to stay calm because blind panic will throw you into a state of frenzied incoherence and being arrested will not help the kids any. How sad to meet them in handcuffs! Law enforcement outside the school directs people as well as traffic. If every parent follows willingly, things would run smoothly for the kids (in light of what happened) because emergency teams need to focus their attention on taking care of the circumstance of shooter, frightened and even injured as well as those who did not make it in the best way possible.

I could only hope that if this ever happens to me in real life, I would act with a prayer full in my heart and assist the officers in calming parents and help to keep order.


If your child/ren's school was under attack, what would you do?


8 comments:

  1. Good grief! :-( I feel so sad that this training even had to even happen. I hope schools continue to be the safe places they should be and that this scenario will never be the norm.

    Take care
    x

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  2. This is a very interesting idea, indeed. Our school is used twice a year for SWAT teams to train for such things, but they do it on weekends. Our students and teachers drill every year on what to do. Our school cops are extremely well trained. But NEVER have we trained the parents. What a fabulous idea! Freaking out parents are discussed in all our teacher training sessions, but to train at least some of them -- and then to let them spread the word.,.. Wow. That is a great idea. I will mention this when the next school year begins.
    Thanks for posting this.

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    1. You're welcome! That's wonderful that your school is used for SWAT training! I'm all too happy to inspire the idea. Let me know what you guys do, I'm very interested to hear. <3

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  3. I remember having bomb drills in school. These actions of kids killing kids are horrific!!! I have 2 daughters that are teachers and both say they'd step in front of their students to save them from an attacker...

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    1. So sad that this happens, even when it is a crazed adult bent on a psycho dream! :( I would not hesitate to protect children in that manner as well. x'(

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  4. What a fascinating experience! I would have reveled in playing a part in it too. Unfortunately, school shootings have happened in my area and rehearsing a terrorist event makes perfect sense. Yes, it would be too easy to freak out and I can see how useless and even detrimental that would be. Elizabeth, thank you for your kind words on Swagger. I would love for you to help out with Snatched in Gullybrook. Please e-mail me and we can discuss. kimvansickler (at) gmail (dot) com :-)

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    1. How it breaks my heart to know that there have been shootings in your area. </3 ((Hugs)) I hope my area has more training on this--this is the first one I've been made aware of, too! I plan to speak with my kids' schools and see what they're willing to do.

      I'm emailing you!

      xox

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