Rebecca and I headed over the playground earlier, just in time for afternoon recess. We got 30 seconds of conversation from her “cool” siblings, and she headed off to play on the slides, getting lots of help from the bigger kids every time she faked looking fearful. She’s a born actress, that child.
We needed to go into Nicholas’ classroom then, to sign up for a time slot for next week’s Meet the Parents evening. We’ve been sent home a questionnaire to think about before our meeting. Lots of questions about Nicholas and his reaction so far to school. How is his self-esteem? his health? What are his hobbies/strengths? How does he respond to stressful situations? (see Volcano post). How does he deal with conflict? (would screaming his head off and drumming his heels on the ground be an acceptable answer?) etc. etc. etc. It should be a really interesting 10 minutes.
Anyway, I’m writing my name into the 6 o’clock slot, when I notice a sign pinned up on the wall outside the classroom door. It was called “Lockdown Policy” and my neurotic mother tendencies went on to high alert. LOCKDOWN?? I read it through. Basically, in the event of a Lockdown, all children must remain seated in their classrooms, away from the windows (!!), with all cellphones off and the lights switched off. The doors to classrooms will be locked and they cannot exit until cleared to do so by a police officer. A police officer? Wtf?
Ok. I took some deep breaths, adjusted my fixed grimace to a fixed grin and headed off to the Principal’s office. Halfway there, I realised that starting off with the Lockdown Policy interrogation might come across as a bit….I don’t know, nutty?….so when the lovely Mrs Spooner appeared, I smiled sweetly and asked her about an upcoming cross-country meet that the kids are supposed to be attending next month. Once that bit was over, I casually threw in “oh yeah, what’s the story with the Lockdown notice? What’s it about exactly? Is it like a Fire drill?” I can handle Fire Drills. “Oh”, she said, “that’s part of our school policy. We have ten Fire Drills every year, so that the children all know what to do”. Ok, ok, get to the police officer bit. “The Lockdown drill is done three times a year so that all children know what to do in the event of a security threat”. “A security threat?” I squeaked. “Well, if it’s just an outside threat, like an incident out on the street, we lock all the outside doors”. Okay. I think. “However, if the threat is inside the building, we follow the classroom lockdown policy”. INSIDE the building? Like what, a bear or something? And then she said the words. She actually SAID “after Columbine”. I was starting to twitch. “We’ve followed the policies established in the States regarding threats outside and inside schools” she said. Now, she was so matter-of-fact and calm about all of this. I was bug-eyed and gritting my teeth at this stage. “Has anything like this happened in the school?” I asked. “No, no, not at all”, she smiled reassuringly. “In Saskatoon? Saskatchewan? CANADA????” She was starting to look slightly alarmed. “Well, there was an incident in South Alberta”, she admitted. That’s, like, the next province over. It’s only hundreds of miles away, rather than thousands.
“We do have all other evacuation plans in place as well, of course” she blithely continued, unaware of the fact that I was about 2 minutes away from needing medical attention. “We have plans in place in case of a gas or chemical leak here in the school, or in the neighbourhood, or in the whole of the North End…..” Jesus Christ. I was afraid she was going to mention “nuclear” next.
“Well, I’m glad we had this little chat”, I said brightly. “No PROBLEM! Have a GREAT weekend!”, and off she went back to work, all policies in place and all neurotic parents reassured. She’s awesome.