A list of questions I’ve gotten from children regarding what would happen in the event of an active shooter. All questions have come unprompted.
“If I’m in the bathroom, and you’ve closed the door, will you let me in?”
“What if I’m in the bathroom, but I’m not in your class? Can I come to your class, or do I have to run back to my class?”
“What if I’m in the bathroom, and I hear someone shooting, do I stay in the bathroom?” (I should note, my room is near a bathroom).
“What if the door is locked, but the person breaks the window?”
“Do we hide under the desk?”
“What happens if someone gets to the front desk, and they can’t do an announcement to tell us we are in danger?”
“What if someone pulls a fire drill to get us outside, what then?”
“Who will tell our parents if we get shot?”
“What if we are crying and we can’t stay quiet? Is it our fault if the shooter finds us?”
“What if I’m in the hallway, and I run to a room and it’s locked, what do I do?”
“What if both the stairways have shooters?”
“What if I see the shooter?”
“You’ll protect us, right?”
Children can’t vote. They have no power. They can’t lobby for change, they can’t vote for change. However, they live every day with the consequences of decisions that adults make.
They ask questions, unprompted, after every school shooting.
They’ve told me they dream about it.
I’ve dreamt about it too.
We are a country that proposes to value freedom. Yet, we imprison our children with fear for something as simple as going to school.
This is not an epidemic of bullies. It is an epidemic of guns, and access to guns.
Until we value the lives of children, we can not be free.