Excruciating ~ Middle School Lockdown

Monday afternoon I was sitting at the computer checking my email and hanging out on Twitter while I waited for John to get home from school.  One of the emails was Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts for the week.

1.) Simple.
2.) Angsty.
3.) Excruciating.
5.) Bold.

I was leaning toward simple, or perhaps bold.  The events of the next hour changed my mind.

John’s bus always drops him off at exactly 2:45.  Since the first day of school he’s never been significantly early or late.  I can see the bus stop from the window next to my computer, so I always sit there and watch him get off the bus and walk to the house.  But Monday the bus didn’t come at 2:45.  At 3:00 the bus hadn’t come, and I started to worry.  At 3:15 Michael called to check in and I told him the bus hadn’t come, and he started to worry.  So I pulled up the bus schedule, bus number, compound name, and phone number for the compound (what did people do before the internet?) and by the time I got through to a human it was 3:25.  I told the woman my son’s name, what school he went to, and what bus he rode, and asked if there had been an accident or if the bus had broken down.  She said calmly, “No, K— Middle School was on lockdown.  They just released them at 3:16.”


“I’m sorry, you’ll have to call the school to get any further information about that.  But the kids have bee released.”

The next twenty minutes were EXCRUCIATING.  I tried my best not to think about Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes”.  Which means I thought about it constantly.  Lockdowns mean weapons, threats to my child’s safety.  The possibility of horrible trauma.  When I saw John jump off the bus it was all I could do not to run down the street and grab him, but this is Middle School, so I kept my cool and waited on the front porch.  It was hard, though.  I had him call his dad and tell him he was okay.  Within ten minutes this was what I saw:

Middle School Multitasking

A girl he’d gone to school with last year had called on the home phone to make sure he was okay when she heard about the lockdown.  While he was talking to her he was also texting with the girl he sits next to on the school bus (the same one who rearranged two entire tables of people at the Madrigal Feaste so that she could sit next to him).  Oh, and that yellow piece of paper is the homework he was supposed to be doing.  But you know what?  I’m not going to fuss about homework or girls or anything else today.  I’m just going to hug him as often as he’ll let me.

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17 thoughts on “Excruciating ~ Middle School Lockdown”

  1. I would have been a nervous wreck! I found out the other day that they do lock down drills even in kindergarten, in case there’s a ‘bad guy’ in the school. It really is a scary world! But I’m happy your son is safe!

  2. I would have been freaking out too! If the bus is more than two minutes late, I’m pacing the floor. Can’t believe the school to send out a phone call to the parents.

    1. They sent a letter home the next day and said they hadn’t been able to alert parents because it happened just as school was about to be dismissed, but I didn’t think that was a valid excuse.

  3. I love that our school does Honeywell Alerts for things of importance (and the not-so-important ones, too, but it’s OK since I get the important stuff that way too). I would have been terrified! As a reporter I covered a kid bringing a gun to his middle school…no one was hurt, but it was terribly scary for all the parents waiting for their children to be released. Did they tell you why it was on lockdown? Congrats on not rushing out to pounce on him when he got off the bus…that would have just been sooooo embarrassing mom! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I was pretty pround of myself for exercising my self-control :). They sent a letter home the next day, and it was evidently a suicide hoax at the high school. I’m glad they took the threat seriously, but I really would have liked a phone call.

  4. OMG! I would have died after hearing the words LOCK DOWN and Jodi Piccoult’s book 19 minutes definitely would have popped into my head. Glad to hear your son was safe!

    1. I love all her books – they are all so well-researched. And I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced we boy-moms have it a LOT easier than the girl-moms – WHEW!

  5. Happy your son made it home safely. Lockdowns are scary, and is such a sad statement of our times. I remember only having tornado and fire drills during school when I was growing up. Now they have lockdowns, chemical spill drills, all sorts of scary stuff. Hope you can relax a bit now!

    1. And I remember fire drills because cause for celebration – we’d get to drop what we were doing and go outside for a few minutes! We certainly didn’t have the things to worry about today’s kids do 🙁

  6. That’s soo scary – I would have been freaking out too. I’ve read Nineteen Minutes too – and that’s the thoughts that would have been jumping around in my mind. Glad your boy got home safe – and doesn’t seem too traumatized by the day’s events.

    1. Aren’t kids amazing? I’d have been running for the nearest therapist, but he had forgotten the whole thing by the time he’d been home an hour.

  7. How scary was that! I bet John was as calm as could be. What a love he is. I hate to say this but the girl situation is going to get worse. Just look how cute and sweet he is.

  8. That’s it! I would Homeschool. I think about those things all of the time. It is so sad the world in which we live.

    I can’t believe the school didn’t send something out to the parents earlier. I would have been mad.

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