Today was a very scary day for me.
Just before nine this morning, I received a phone call from one of my coworkers that there was a shooter on the loose and the local high school was on lockdown. I was scared out of my wits!
When my supervisor came in, I quietly informed her of what was going on and where the security team was. She handled the situation much better than I ever would, I suppose just because she has probably dealt with the issue before. She told me what would happen if we went on lockdown, and then checked on each and every classroom to make sure every student was accounted for.
We waited for a bit and nothing happened, so I began to relax.
Then the phone started ringing.
Our school cares for the children of police officers, homeland security agents, and firefighters, just to name a few! So nearly every parent knew what was going on, and they wanted to know that we knew what was going on. As the receptionist, all those phone calls went to me.
I know the parents were just worried, just like I was, but handling frantic moms and dads is very, very stressful. I wanted to give parents out there some advice for when things like this happen.
One: Yes, your child is safe.
Schools get a bad rap for shootings and other events that we have no control over. What we can control, however, is who we let through the doors, where our security team is stationed, and how we inform the teachers of what’s going on. In my opinion, being at school, in terms of safety, is second only to your child being in your arms.
Two: No, you do not need to pick your child up.
I know it’s scary, and I know you just want to see that they’re okay, but I promise you that if a receptionist is answering the phone, your kids are fine. If they weren’t, you would be getting a call from an administrator. That is not information we keep to ourselves.
Three: We really do know what we’re doing.
I consider part of my job to be staying on top of things like this when they happen. I am the information powerhouse. This morning, I was managing Twitter and Facebook feeds to be sure I was up to date. Every time we got new information, I had it. I guess my point is that if the secretary tells you everything’s fine, everything is really fine.
Stuff like this is scary. The most important thing to remember is that panicking will not help anyone. You have every right to keep calling the office and checking in, but trust that the school has things under control. That, after all, is their job.