Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Deja Vu, "Lockdown" Is The New Reality


There is a sadness and grief, that is prevalent now, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is deep and profound. Everyone feels it, no matter how far you are from Connecticut, it is palpable. We all feel so helpless. We all know, this can happen anywhere, at anytime.
 I want to share some insight from my years as as long term substitute teacher for almost a decade.
First, is whats's called "lockdown". This is when there's a drill at school, almost like a fire drill, where teachers according to protocol, turn out the lights in the classroom, lock the classroom door, our children are instructed to get under their desks. The children are to be silent, motionless. We then wait for the principal or vice principal to give us an announcement after they check the classrooms and hallways to see that everyone had followed this protocol. I don't know if some of you reading this remember, the 50's and 60's with students hiding under desks in case the "enemy" had launched an atomic bomb in our direction. So now it is an enemy within.
Now, that's even more dangerous than whatever "yellowcake" Iran is cooking up in the Middle East.
My question in this scenario is, what does this do to a child's psyche? That they have to hide, for what reason? Why? This is acceptable now and it is wrong. Why is it okay to tell preschoolers, kindergartners, first graders, tenth graders, that we lock our classrooms and we have to "play possum"  just in case, someone with a gun or assault weapons, comes into the school, like it's the Ok Corral and shoots up the place?
I think it comes down to the question of violence in our culture. Violence is the means to an end, guns go hand in hand with violence in our culture. Since the strong survive, if they have guns, so be it.
There is no damn reason our kids in 2012, should be hiding under desks and having to go through "lockdown" because there is  no sane gun control or real help for the mentally ill.
The thing that breaks my heart is that I know, how we all try to prepare for the worst.
 Does "lockdown"" save us from that?
As teachers, we try to create a safe place for all of our students. Why are our kids still hiding under desks, like it's the 1950's. What does that do to them? Besides making it seem "normal" that we have to lock our doors and hide because some madman is on the loose with not just one gun, but many guns.
Have we evolved at all?
What exactly are we teaching our kids? Oh, I know, lets teach them to lock the classrooms and hide, because we can't figure out how to make our culture a safer place. This is how they grow up, EXPECTING violence to happen at any moment. Because "lockdown" is the new normal.


  1. He horrified America back in the 1960s, or at least he horrified middle-class and upper-class white America when he said, "Violence is as American as apple pie." Now it becomes increasingly clear that Malcolm X was right.

    Very crankily yours,
    The New York Crank

  2. Have we evolved at all? No.

    Having commented on my blog about the murders, you know exactly where I am with this insanity. Thanks for the insight, btw.

  3. We continue to treat the symptoms instead of the disease. The sale of Body Armor for children has apparently gone through the roof.

  4. Crank, I remember how scared people were of Malcolm X, when clearly, white people are a hell of a lot scarier. Jaded, read your blog, and it's sad what kids are going through because of this. Yeah Gene, I read about that at Squatlo's. I don't know if you all have heard, but this whole tragedy is being blamed on taking prayer out of school and if only we could pray at school, none of this would have happened. I guess praying that God would just smite the NRA and throw all the guns into a lake of fire seems just as reasonable and just as effective. Pathetic

  5. I'm sure someone somewhere is trying to get a law passed allowing children to carry concealed weapons to school. For their own safety, of course.

  6. That seems about right. I mean why not? They already want to arm the principals and other administrators, Just give 'em all guns. Kids, teachers, whatever. Also would be good insurance, in case you didn't do your homework.

  7. Patricia, one of our state's legislators has proposed arming our teachers...

    About the duck and cover drills? I grew up in a little town about ten miles away from the atomic energy research plants at Oak Ridge Tennessee where my dad worked, and we did those drills all the time when I was in elementary school. It wasn't traumatizing for us, 'cause it got us out of a few minutes of actual schoolwork.

    Today's kids are aware of the shooting in Connecticut, and I'm pretty sure a lot of them are freaking out every time one of these drills is run.

    Sad times when we send our kids to school decked out in kevlar to be protected by armed teachers.