As A Mom, Your Heart Drops!

Alexander Cougars

The Impact of School Shootings

It seems everyday in America, parents face the dangers of sending our kids to school. Our biggest concern used to be worrying about their behavior in school. Wondering if they’re being respectful to teachers and their classmates. When they’re very young, we worry about them being taken care of by teachers and administrators, as we put their fate into the hands of these strangers.

But today, regardless of what age they are, we worry about them coming home safe and alive! That’s the impact that school shootings have placed on many parents in America now.

My son is 15 and a sophomore in high school. We live in a rural county in North Carolina. The kind of place where you wouldn’t think of worrying about school shootings. But there isn’t any place in the U.S. where you don’t worry about someone hitting a breaking point and responding with gun violence. Whither you’re out in the middle of no where, in a big city or a sprawling suburban area. No one is immune.

Last year, my son’s school had a lock down because of threats made to the county schools. It turned out the threats came from an incarcerated prisoner in the local regional jail. The anxiety that bomb threat instilled on students and parents was intense, for several days. Thankfully the local and state police resolved their investigation within a few days and the threat turned out to be a false threat. And during the investigation several parents kept their children out of school, in part because information provided was sparse and limited. But the damage was done. (Hickory Daily Record Nov. 2018)

This week on March 28, 2019, kids were scheduled to get out of school early for the end of the grading period. Out early on Thursday and off on Friday.  We were looking forward to the short break. An extra day to sleep in, to do nothing and just relax. No chores, no studying, no homework. But before that could happen, there was a school lock down!

My son and I spent the morning texting. I was trying to find out when he gets out of school. But our texts quickly changed into something else entirely! Soon I was trying to make sure he was ok. Giving him encouragement to stay calm. All the while being scared to death and hoping beyond hope, that this wasn’t another active shooter incident in a high school!

When I dropped him off at 7:25am I told him to ask his teacher when they get out today and to send me a text. He didn’t. Which isn’t unusual for a teenage boy.

Do you get out at 12 or 12:30? 7:49am
I don’t know yet 7:50am

Well? 9:00am
Have you gotten a call from the school? Anything? 9:01am
No 9:02am
Any news? 9:02am
No call. No email. No message. 9:03am
Can you call them and ask whats happening or is there no answer? 9:04am
Just ask your teacher. 9:04am
I can’t. 9:04am

FYI theres a two tone alarm going off over the speakers. 9:05am

What? 9:05am
School lets out today at 12:30.
But I’m stuck in a corner like what I assume the other classes are doing. 9:07am
Is this another practice lockdown? 9:08am
I don’t know. This has never happened. 9:08am
At that point, my heart dropped!

Have they said anything on the speakers? 9:08am
Only a alarm has gone off over the speakers. 9:09am
Do you hear anything else going on outside the room? 9:09am
No 9:10am
Well as long as you’re not hearing gun fire, then maybe it’s just a drill. 9:10am
It’s been 20 mins. 9:12am
Those few seconds / minutes between my sending him a text and
his response, start to become agonizing.
This is either a mistake or somethings happened 9:12am
How long have drills lasted before? 9:12am
About 5-10 mins 9:12am
Is the teacher saying anything? 9:13am
Teacher doesn’t know whats happening. 9:13am
Just stay calm. 9:13am
Police at the school.
Dont know if its true or not. 9:14am

Someone got a text or something. 9:14am

Ok. At least they’re already there. 9:14am
yeah 9:14am
As long as you’re not hearing gunfire in a commotion outside your class, maybe things are contained. 9:15am

Are you on the first floor or upstairs in the school? 9:15am

Second 9:15am

Well hopefully that makes it harder for someone trying to do something to get up to where you and your classes are. 9:15am

Are you okay? 9:16am

Mostly. 9:16am

Just worried. 9:16am

Yes it’s something to worry about. Just stay calm so that you can think if something else does happen. 9:17am
Apparently cops are here. 9:17am

And a lot of them. 9:17am

Are they outside your classroom or something? 9:17am
No 9:17am
Then how do you know there’s a lot of them there? 9:17am
Just word is going around from multiple people. 9:18am

Apparently its a drill? 9:19am

Well if it’s a drill then that’s a good thing. 9:19am

Who is saying that? 9:19am

Teacher says it may be a drill 9:19am

something about a email. 9:19am

Still sheltered? 9:21am
yeah. 9:21am

alarm has been off for a bit 9:21am

Does your teacher seem worried? 9:23am
Not anymore i think 9:23am

Can’t see her im facing a wall. 9:23am

What’s between you and the door? 9:24am
A massive desk 9:26am
Are there kids between you and the desk? 9:25am

There’s nothing on TV, the news 9:26am

Alright 9:26am

Have you told dad? 9:26am

Yes, he’s on his way here to bring me some cash for your golf lessons. 9:26am

I was just getting ready to go take a shower. Now I don’t know if I should.
Or if I should just wait to see if you’re ok. 9:27am

Just wait. 9:28am
Well I’m waiting 9:28am
Apparently its a malfunction 9:29am
Who says 9:29am
other people 9:29am

But some still say it’s not a drill 9:29am

Yeah you can’t believe the rumors from other kids, because I guarantee you they don’t know anymore than you or I do. 9:30am
Can you tell dad to reroute himself to the school? 9:30am
Doesn’t matter where he’s going, he’s still on his way in this direction. 9:30am

Is it still quiet in the hall way? 9:33am

I heard boots and “manly” voices. 9:33am

so theres probably cops in the hallway 9:33am

Well that’s a good thing. 9:34am
I’m going to jump in the shower and get dressed.
My phone is right next to the shower. Keep talking to me. 9:35am
Alright 9:35am
Okay I’m out of the shower. Getting dressed to come down there. 9:40am
Theres cops going door to door now. 9:41am

Room got cleared 9:41am

Are they saying anything or just checking on everybody? 9:41am
the cops seemed really pissed off. 9:42am

theyre checking on people 9:42am

If they’re really pissed off then it wasn’t a drill. 9:42am
Or just intense? 9:43am.

I need some feedback. 9:46am

I think they’re pissed 9:46am
One of them looked like a state cop or sherif 9:46am

some high ranking person and they were not happy. 9:46am

Also, had his gun unholstered. 9:47am

So doubt it was a drill 9:47am

Ok that sounds like it’s not a drill 9:47am
And it sounds like they’re upset and intense.
Not necessarily angry or pissed. 9:48am
word is going around that someone was arrested 9:48am
Yeah you can’t believe the word going around. 9:48am

Just follow directions until you get the all clear. Please. 9:49am

Alright. 9:49am
I’m almost ready. 9:49am
alright 9:49am
I’m calling your dad. hold on. 9:49am
Yeah sounds like its true. 9:50am

someone here and at east (middle school) got arrested 9:50am

Are you still sheltered in place? 9:52am
No were sitting at our desks 9:52am
Is the door to the classroom open or closed. 9:53am
Closed. The cops told us to wait. 9:53am
Ok Your dad is 30minutes away from the house.
But still on his way this direction. 9:54am

I don’t know if I should come get you or wait. 9:54am

Just wait 9:54am

Yeah somethings happened 9:55am

100+ are listening to this counties police scanner 9:56am

100+ people 9:56am

I didn’t think about turning that on. what are they saying 9:56am
I would but don’t have headphones.
Someone else already did anyways. 9:57am
Ok what did they say? 9:57am
I couldn’t hear 9:57am
Ok hold on I’ll turn mine on 9:57am
but apparently they called in cops from Iredell too 9:57am
Ok it’s up. They’re not saying anything. there’s a 160 listeners 9:58am
Its been confirmed, it wasn’t a drill 9:59am

Worse part is this happened on the day we were supposed to have county wide drills. 10am

They just let the county school administrator into the front door. 10am

Officer call number 529 said there’s some people there and
he was told to just stage them there out front. 10:08am

So they’re just now staging? 10:08am
It sounds like maybe it’s the EMT and Fire? Not sure 10:09am

Could also be State Police Investigators 10:09am

EMT was here already 10:09am

news crew got here too, just now 10:09am

then it’s probably some kind of State Police 10:09am

Oh, maybe it was the press they’re staging out front then 10:09am

alright 10:10am
Dispatch said they still have officers coming in from off-duty
do you still want them there? And dispatch was told to
send them to the road for traffic control. 10:11am

Your dad is home 10:11am

alright 10:11am
What’s happening there 10:14am
Boredom 10:14am

Apparently according to someone I don’t necessarily trust,
they may call all clear and move us away from the school
on buses. 10:15am

Not sure I buy that. They just wouldn’t put you on a bus. they would just put in the parking lot or football field. something like that. 10:17am
yeah 10:17am
they’re not saying much on the radio.10:19am
They probably switched off of county wide radio and
used on for their staging. 10:19am
Maybe. Right now they’re sending fire to a house fire. 10:20am

Just said they’re redirecting traffic, because there’s a ton
of parents at the school now. 10:21am

A policeman said they ought to be clear here in a minute 10:22am

Leaving the house and coming out there. 10:23am

Yeah I’ve been hearing that too. 10:23am
I can’t drive with my reading glasses on.
So if you text me I won’t be able to read it.
But I’m on my way. 10:25am
Ok. 10:25am
Ok I’m here. They won’t let me in the usual way.
I have to go around to the main gate.
There’s a loooong line of cars trying to get in. 10:41am
Although it was a malfunction someone did get arrested here.
There’s a audio clip of cops yelling at someone to put their
hands up 10:44am
Ok, they’re letting me in. See you in a second! Love you! 10:55am

Thank goodness our experience turned out to be an unknown alarm malfunction, that’s still being investigated. The entire county police department had turned out for the alarm. And yes they did call in support from Iredell County, next door. By the time I arrived, the Fire Trucks had left and there was still one EMT truck remaining. Parents were hugging their kids as they walked through the parking lot from the school. I was never so glad to see my teenager!

He was a little more shaken up than he let on in his text messages. But he did say, those texts were helpful. There were several kids in his class who were shaking and very scared, he told me once he was safely inside the car. They all seemed to calm down as they shared the texts from their parents with each other in their huddled gathering.

Bottom line is, this country must do something about mental health and gun violence. The next school lock down, may not be an alarm malfunction. We owe it to our children to make the necessary changes to keep everyone safe, inside and outside of their schools!

I would like to send out a huge thank you to the Alexander County Sheriff’s department, the entire school staff and the other First Responders for reacting so quickly and getting to the school. Your service is appreciated and admired!

Malfunctioning alarm sends school into lockdown, what’s found locks down another – WBTV News


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