It feels like the world has gone mad in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Today alone, there were two lock-downs reported, one at a school outside Philadelphia and another in Connecticut again. And, in Ohio, a high school student posted on Facebook that he could "do better" than the Newtown shooting that killed 26 people, while in LA, another person threatened to kill more elementary students.
The bottom line question all parents are asking is this: Are our kids safe?
It's chilling. And as a parent, it's our worst nightmare come alive. We all know the likelihood of something happening to our children at school is statistically so very low. But that didn't stop the fear I saw this morning in parents' eyes at drop-off. It didn't stop the sadness in the teachers' hearts and the tears I cried in my car once my last little baby toddled off, his backpack on his back, blond head bobbing obliviously down the shiny halls of his pre-k building.
It's a scary world we live in right now, and the fact is everyone is afraid.
Everyone was wondering if it was "really" safe to send our kids today. After leaving my son, I immediately wanted to turn around and go back, just to hold him one more time. But it is. It really is.
Even with copycat potential and lock-downs. It feels like the world has gone mad, but this is perhaps the safest day in the history of schools. We have all been through a collective trauma, but last Friday's events weren't a sign of things to come. They aren't a signal that elementary schools are becoming less safe. If anything, they could be getting safer.
But we are right to worry all the same. These school shootings do seem to get progressively worse. Even a horror movie wouldn't dare touch the mass slaughter of 6-year-olds at an elementary school. It's simply too awful to even consider. We are all traumatized.
Our first instinct is to lock down the schools, to jump on every threat, and to arrest any person who says something inflammatory. It's a good instinct and will keep our kids safe. But it can't last forever. We will go back to "normal" at some point. It should be our profound hope that our new normal takes threats seriously, examines mental health more closely, and understands that the worst can happen while also leaving room for the vastly more likely scenario that it won't.
Do all these lock-downs and copycats scare you?
Image via momentcaptured1/Flickr