Newtown Anniversary: The Impact of School Shootings
As we approach the first anniversary of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, CT, I’ve been reflecting on how it has directly affected me.
Sure, there are systemic changes made by our school and school system resulting from the impact of school shootings like Sandy Hook. Each school now has security guards roaming the perimeter and practices lock down drills. In fact, once when I arrived early for afternoon pick up, I was sitting in my car checking emails and the guard knocked on my window, asked what I was doing there and asked for ID. The front doors are locked during school hours and intercom systems have been installed to allow for more security. Parents dropping off their children are no longer able to walk them to their classrooms, and all visitors need to be on a predetermined list generated each morning with information from teachers and staff. This includes even regular classroom volunteers.
When you pick up your child, it has to be prearranged (emergencies excluded of course) and you need to show an ID to the greeter who compares that to another list, again generated by the office. At times it seems tedious, and I doubt it would stop someone whose intent was to harm, but it gives parents some sense of peace.
Last year, having just moved to Connecticut, and having a child in Kindergarten, watching the Newtown tragedy unfold in real time was very difficult for me. It hit very close to home, both literally and figuratively. It’s something that I still think about on a weekly basis. Every Monday, I pick up Max from school. In addition to remembering my driver’s license, which I am required to show upon arrival, I always bring my cell phone into the school with me. I did not used to do that, but now, every time I consider leaving it in the car, I’m haunted by the thought of Newtown.
What if while I’m in there someone starts shooting up the school and I don’t have a phone to call 911 or my husband?
I don’t let it plague my thoughts. I’m not afraid to send Max to school. But it’s something I never thought about before and I hate that I even have to.
I truly hope the Newtown community is healing and finding some peace and sense of calm.
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