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Parenting in 2022

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Today, I took my kids to my son's future school to grab a welcome bag. We didn't make it to orientation...long story, but while I was there I was sure to ask about safety and what that looks like. I wanted to know what doors were locked and how people got into the building. When I entered the building I noticed there was a keypad with a camera on it that you had to use to buzz in, as I walked through the first set of doors I came to the office which also had a locked door and a button to press for help. The next set of doors was where you entered the school.

My school wasn't like that. Maybe the doors were locked from the outside to get in except for the main entrance but there wasn't all of these layers. I grew up in small town America where big belts, wrangler jeans, big trucks, and racial slurs run deep. I remember when I was in high school there was an altercation between a white boy and the new Black boy who had just started school there. The white boy had drawn a noose on the Black boys locker, of course words and hands were exchanged. I don't remember any conversation or assembly addressing the situation but I do remember the Black kids not returning to our small town school.

My husband attended a school close to a major city where gang violence was an issue. He had to walk through metal detectors everyday in middle and high school. The school had security guards and bags were required to be clear and were searched daily. If a fight erupted in school it was hard to get passed and make it to class on time.

When I was stationed in Denver, the Aurora Movie Theater shooting happened. That was in 2012. If you aren't familiar with the events, a man entered the theater during a midnight showing of the Dark Knight dressed in combat gear and threw gas canisters into the theater before opening fire on the theater. People thought it was just an added bonus of the show. 12 people died and 70 were wounded. We lost a member of our unit that day, he was 29. The youngest person who died in that shooting was 6.

As a former military member and a former government employee we had active shooter drills during the workday. We hid in supply closets and under desks until the all clear was called. We watched videos and took trainings on how to disarm an active shooter if the were able to force their way into a locked room and how to safely try to escape the building. This is what I think of when I hear about children having to learn how to hide under desks.