Now, I want to start by saying I'm glad no one was even slightly injured during yesterday's events, but I think this is a good time to review what happened, and how parents at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School can learn from it. Even though there's only 2 weeks left in the school year, it's always important to go over basic safety.
As you all know by now, Mr. Ima Scumball robbed the convenience store across the street from the school yesterday morning, then (due to poor planning in not having a getaway car), unsuccessfully attempted to carjack a driver at gunpoint, then gave up and tried to escape on foot into the neighborhood. This all happened at about the same time classes were starting.
Obviously, this sort of activity is frowned upon by the Grumpyville Police, and so the area was quickly swarming with policemen, police cars, and a helicopter looking for Mr. Scumball.
Since there was a chance he'd try to get into the school to hide or take hostages, we were ordered to put the school on lockdown. So all gates were closed and locked, with no one allowed in or out. We even woke-up Elmer, our octogenarian security guard, from his morning nap.
Unfortunately, as always, the beginning of the school day is followed by stragglers who show up 10-15 minutes late, drop off their kids in front, and head to work. By the time they did yesterday, the gates were locked, and under lockdown protocol we aren't allowed to open them again until the all clear is sounded.
So, with policemen everywhere, more police cars arriving every moment to try and cordon off the area, and a helicopter hovering loudly overhead, it was reassuring to see so many parents doing the right thing: Dropping their kids off outside the locked gate and going to work.
Now, I personally don't leave my kids alone in an area where people with drawn firearms are chasing each other. Maybe I'm just overprotective that way. But it still seemed odd to me.
So, with your kids out there in the potential firing line, we can't let them in, either. Because that's the rule. We can't do anything to jeopardize the safety of the kids already inside the school. Calling on your cell phone as you drive away to say "Hi, the gate was locked and blocked off by a police car for some reason, please let Billy in." Isn't going to change anything.
I was particularly touched by some of the responses we got, when parents were told WHY the gate was locked:
"Really? Well, I still have to get to work."
"Wow. I hadn't heard it on the news. I'll go check again."
"I figured he was safe because there were cops everywhere."
"Huh. Okay, call me if there's a problem."
"How long will he be out there? He had to pee when he got out of the car."
"Why can't you let him in? It's not like he's the robber. I can vouch for him."
"Oh, cool! Michael loves to play policeman! Will they let him help?"
Fortunately, Mr. Scumball was quickly caught hiding in someone's backyard, and we were able to let your kids in. However, I'd like to stress the key points here:
1. On the rare occasion the school gates are locked during the day, DON'T let your kid out of the car. It means something bad is happening.
2. Armed police everywhere is NOT a sign that the area is a good place for your kids.
3. The police are here to catch bad guys, not babysit your kids so you can go to work.
Thank you, and have a great summer.