Leaves on this Family Tree

Friday, December 14, 2012

50 Years of Drills

1961 . . . a Fire Drill at Franklin Elementary School.
Like normal, we left the school and lined up on Bates Street.
Giggling and murmuring,
even though our teachers did the tried and true Fire Drill
teacher thing . . . stay in line, keep quiet.


Then, lack, billowing smoke 
starts to roll out of the window in the library.
Now THAT got out attention!
When we heard the fire trucks,
we knew something was really up.

Then, the trucks parked and the hoses
were unwound and taken into the building.
Okay, what's up?

Teachers went back to their group of kids
and tell us there was a fire in the girls bathroom.
Next thing we know
they are back in the building,
getting our coats out of the closest,
(yes, it was the middle of winter)
and tossing them out of the windows
so we could all put our coats on.

Those of us who lived in town
got to leave and go home.

We found out the next day 
that oily rags were in a pile in the bathroom
and they had done one of those
spontaneous combustion things. 

Never had to do the 
"dive under your desks"
to protect myself from a possible
atomic bomb.
Or, if we did, I don't remember doing it.




1972 . . . We did Fire Drills
Tried to keep kids quiet,
knowing that if it were a real fire,
we would need to have their full attention.
Always remembered how we reacted
when we actually had that fire
in 1961.

When I moved back to my hometown,
I had to learn the "ropes"
of doing a Tornado Drill.
(We were in Tornado alley in Indiana.)


The kids normally reacted 
like they did in a fire drill . . .
Until the length of time spent
in the "safe" areas 
of the building
was longer than normal.
It was eerie, 
so we had to keep the feeling light
or it could get bad.

Drug searches . . . 
keep the kids in the room
until the drug sniffing dogs
had worked the building.
These were the LONGEST
times we were in lock down
in our classes.


Somewhere along the way, 
we had to start teaching the kids
how to respond to "bomb threats."
Again, keep them quiet
and get them out of the building
and moved to a safe place.


Then,
in the last few years it came . . . 
CODE BLUE ! ! ! !

Get the kids out of their seats
and move them to a part of the room
where they can't be seen
from the hallway.



Then, the word came down
that we had to cover the glass
in the doors. . . 
now THAT drove me nuts.
I wanted to know what was going on.

I can still remember
closing my door and seeing a boy 
coming out of the bathroom.
I had to get him into my room.
Poor guy . . an 8th grader
having to sit in with a classroom
full of 6th graders.

It makes me sad
to think that the preparing
that the students did in Connecticut
actually came to fruition today.

So sad, and so unfair.
No child should ever
have to experience the trauma
that anyone of these drills
are to prepare them for.


My thoughts and prayers
go out to all of the families
whose children went to that school.
Whether they lost their children
or were lucky enough 
to be able to take them home.
None of their lives will ever be the same.

And the Faculty and staff
in that school
will never be able to fully relax
in their classrooms and offices
again.


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