Saturday, December 15, 2012
Reflection on Newtown
Of all the things I've read and seen about the Newtown tragedy this image seems to resonate with me the most.
I went and worked at my school yesterday morning. The students families are invited to have turkey dinner with their children at school to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles lining the halls waiting on their children's lunch time when I left at noon.
There so easily could have been a deranged person among the throng.
When I was principal there, Columbine happened. We immediately began locking all exterior doors. This was not popular with parents and it was annoying for the secretary to exit the office to open the door for parents picking up or bringing in their child.
Ten years later I retired and came back to the school to work part time with 5K children. Among the things that had changed was a policy requiring all classroom doors to remain locked at all times whether students are inside the classroom or not. Again, a bit of an inconvenience but one that possibly saves lives.
We had a code to be used over the intercom for an intruder; I don't know if that is still true. But from what I've heard about the Newton situation they had no opportunity to warn everyone with a code. Thank God, and I do mean Thank God, someone thought to leave the office intercom on so that those who heard the mayhem new something bad was going down.
I saw the interview with the first grade teacher who put her students in the tiny classroom bathroom and pulled a bookcase in front of the bathroom door to block it. She even had the police push his badge under the door so she could make sure it was not the gun man luring her to open the door. What a wise 27 year old teacher.
Monday, I will see if my students bring up the shooting. If they do, I will let them talk. I will pray for wisdom in handling their concerns. I pray they will enjoy their last two days of school before the holidays and not be afraid to come. I pray for the father and brother of the shooter; I wish he had gotten the help he needed.