So. Yesterday afternoon I got a text from Josh telling me there was an early dismissal and could I pick him up at 1:15. If you think I did not immediately panic, then you don't know me, so feel free to introduce yourself. I jumped up, headed for the door, got another text from the school announcing the surprise early dismal with instructions to see the email. I paused for a moment to see the email, but it wasn't coming through so I jumped into the car and zipped the entire .3 miles to the school. (That's 3/10 of a mile incase you're reading this on a tiny little screen and missed the decimal point) Since we live to geographically convenient to the school I was one of the first parents (ok, technically, I was the 3rd) to get there. It was me and two other cars on the side of the school. There was not a school bus in sight when I pulled in. Once parked outside the side door of the school I checked my email again and the vaguely worded email from the school came through, which did not say why they were dismissing the students. It did however say something about "abundance of caution due to some information."
Seriously. SOME INFORMATION.
It also said that parents should not disrupt their dismissal by coming to the school. Oops. I was already there. 1:15 came and went and finally I heard a PA announcement that the students would remain in a "shelter in place" until further notice. I texted Josh that I would wait however long it took. What I wanted to text Josh; Don't let them shoot you, baby. I love you baby. I can't live without you. I love you. I will put myself in the line of fire for you. I love you. Anything or anyone but you. I love you. Don't let anyone hurt you. I love you. Hide. I love you. Be smart. I love you. Be safe. I love you. Find the safest spot. I love you.
I sat in the car and cried and texted my friends. I took a call from a friend who had been through her own daughter's "shelter in place" last week. She talked me down. She convinced me it was probably a false alarm. The longest 15 minutes went by, some of the school busses showed up and then some students were dismissed. Josh came out the side door right where I was waiting for him, slipped into the car, and I took off. I needed to get away from the school as fast as possible. Josh assured me he wasn't ever in danger, there had been no danger. I knew that he was repeating what had been relayed to him over the school's loud speakers. I began to tremble. Josh, in an attempt to reassure me, told me he knew all the best hiding places, and I realized that he had already, before this day even happened, been planning for his own survival. It hit me hard. My kid has a strategy for survival when he's in school. That's so wrong. So wrong. I feel sick.
In the end there was a kid who was planning something. Another kid turned him in after hearing part of his plan. Some kid from Josh's school is a hero. I wish I could tell that kid how grateful I am.