The tornado siren was going off. It took me a few minutes to notice it fully because the t.v. was on and the sun was shining. It wasn't the first Tuesday of the month, so I knew it wasn't a test. I looked outside. No clouds whatsoever. I got online. No tornado warnings. So I guessed it was just a test after all.
When I picked the boys up from school, I asked them if they had a tornado drill.
"Yes! And a fire drill!"
They were both happy about the break in their monotonous day of learning.
"I like the tornado drill the best," Luke said, "because I get to go downstairs." Downstairs is the domain of the older children, and grades K - 2 rarely get to go down there.
"I like earthquake drills," Jack said, "because I get to crawl under my desk."
These drills are clearly games to them, but I think they understand the threat that drives the drills. They know the meaning of tornado and earthquake and what they have to do to stay safe in the event of one of these disasters.
Then Luke said, "In Kindergarten, I liked the Intruder Alerts because I got to hide behind my coat in my cubbie."
"What's an Intruder Alert?" I asked, having never heard the boys mention these before.
"We pretend there is an intruder and we get to hide."
What sounds like a game to play in the backyard during the long summer nights is actually the scary reality of the possibility of harm coming to my kids at school. Though they understand the threat of nature related dangers, I don't think they could ever grasp the reality of a person coming into a school and hurting children. I think that is beyond their little imaginations, and they have HUGE imaginations.
It saddens me that my kids have to take a break from school work and fun to practice skills to use in the event an intruder enters their school. Unfortunately, in our world today, it is necessary. So, although I am not happy that the need for these Intruder Alerts exist, I am happy that the school is taking steps to protect my kids. And I pray that the day never comes when they understand the real meaning of the Intruder Alerts.