Friday, October 13, 2006

Scary School Things


Lots of chaos in the news lately. Who would have ever thought school would be such a scary place? Yes, the cafeteria meatloaf has always been a risk, but now there’s even more to take in. School shootings. The case in Joplin, Missouri, where the student brought the gun to school? Forty-five minutes from my home.

I’m a teacher, and I’ve found there are bigger things to fear than two girls in a hair pulling, face-scratching fight. (Though that ranks a REALLY close second.) This week, as President Bush had his powwow about school violence, our high school had a crisis drill. It was kind of like a dream for me. You know, the ones in which something crazy is going on, and it’s like you’re watching it happen from a distance?

In our high school we have our doors blacked out. No one can see out; no one can see in (has a nice homey, Alcatraz feel). Then when the drill begins, we lock our doors, huddle the students along a back wall on the floor, and think all sorts of scary thoughts. “What if?” was the question of the day.

“What if the shooter is inside this room?”
“What if the shooter gets you (the fearless teacher)?”
“What if we’re outside? In the cafeteria? In the bathroom?”

We have a procedure for most of these situations, designed to do everything possible to protect every student. But in my head I’m thinking, “You pray. You just pray.” Because I know when frightening things hit, whether it’s school violence or a car wreck or maybe a family member diagnosed with cancer, the best thing you can do is pray. Give it up to God, though that is beyond difficult. But even though things like school crisis drills are scary, we gotta remember that we’re in His hands. Psalm 91:4-6 says:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

I love that visual of being under His wings. Safely sheltered and protected. God is in control, and we are in His grip. And that’s a comforting place to be.

Jennifer

3 comments:

Sarah Anne Sumpolec said...

Very true!

Two of the shootings from the DC Sniper several years ago took place within a couple of miles of my house. I didn't want to go outside, or go to the mall...anything. It's a challenging thing to realize that your life really isn't in your hands. And of course, that the safest place for your life to be - is in the hands of God.

Jeanette Hanscome said...

Jennifer,
Thanks for choosing this topic. The other day we found out that our son's high school had a "threat," through a message left by a student on one of the computers. In the end, the kid admitted it was a hoax (obviously this kid needs a hobby). My son didn't even know about until he got home from school. It stood as a startling reminder that, when Christian leaves for school, he walks into uncertain day. But he walks with God's hands on him. Thank you, Lord!

Blessing on your day,
Jeanette

Erin Valentine said...

Terrific post!

I remember the day after 9-11. One of our teachers lost her sister on the first plane to hit the towers. It was a bleak, awful day.

The next day we asked the students (most of whom had been in her classroom the year before) if they wanted to write letters for a scrapbook which we would then deliver to her and her family.

I'll never forget one little girl, tears dripping down her face as she wrote her sympathies. She looked up at me when I brought her some kleenex and asked, "Don't you wish we could all just pray together right now, Mrs. Valentine?"

Oh, that staggered me.

I ended up telling her that I did agree, and that if she wanted to pray silently, I would respect her need for quiet.

I'm with her, though. Wouldn't it be nice if they could have held hands and prayed?