Gigi (5 years old): Mrs. Smith, which book should I get?
Mrs. Smith (Kindergarten teacher): The biggest one you can find.
Gigi: The Cat in the Hat is big.
Mrs. Smith: It is, perhaps get a bigger one. Or you can get that and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, just keep them both together.
Evan (smiling): Mrs. Smith, how about Where the Wild Things Are?
Mrs. Smith: Good choice, just make sure you get the hardcover not the paperback.
Josh: I have to use the bathroom Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Smith: I’m sorry Josh, now is not a good time.
Josh (bouncing and holding his crotch area): I really have to go, I can’t hold it.
Mrs. Smith: Just do the best you can and if you have a slip, I’ll get you something to wear later.
Sofia (whining): I wanted Library Lion but Jonah took it from me.
Mrs. Smith (speaks loudly with authority): OK Class – everyone and I mean everyone must go into the bathroom right now. Miss Stacy and I will join you as soon as we are finished moving the desk.
Miss Stacy (with labored breathing as they move the desk): Maybe we should rearrange the classroom so the desk is closer to the door. This thing weighs a ton.
Mrs. Smith: Good idea, if we get through this without any casualties, I’ll mention it to the Principal. Watch your back Stacy, I know you have a herniated disc.
Miss Stacy: I just wish we were on the first floor so we could use the windows. They’ll never move us though, those classrooms don’t have bathrooms.
They get the desk moved and make their way into the 6′ X 8′ classroom bathroom. All of the Kindergarten classrooms in this state have their own bathroom, it’s required. It is a single low toilet with a sink and instructions on the wall of how to wash your hands to the tune of Row Your Boat. 18 Kindergartners and 2 adults are crammed into the small bathroom.
Mrs. Smith: Great job getting in here class! (she closes the bathroom door and tells the smallest kids to sit against wall and has everyone sitting, she whispers) Now we need to be very quiet, place your books in front of your shirt like we talked about yesterday.
Gigi: But why Mrs. Smith, can’t we read them?
Mrs. Smith: Sorry Gigi, this is an active shooter drill, we need to use the books to protect ourselves.
Josh: Are we going to get shot? My brother plays Call of Duty and he’s really good at shooting things, my mom won’t let me.
Evan: My dad told me that active shooter drills are to protect us against bad guys but it probably won’t happen here.
Mrs. Smith: Shhh…we have to be quiet now.
Miss Stacy (whispers to Mrs. Smith): I wish this was only a drill.
ALICE is a training program that many public K – 12 schools in America use to prepare for an active shooter. Because the prevalence of active shooters is a real concern to those of us that send our kids to school with the absolute hope that they will come home alive and unharmed.We sometimes wonder which teachers would take a bullet for our kids and then feel guilty because they have families too.
Here is a link so you can learn more about ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate):
Side note: The class described above is fictional based on the reality we now live in. There are thousands of Mrs. Smiths and Miss Stacys in America who show up to work each day knowing that they could in fact face this situation. These are teachers and assistants who likely got into their profession with a passion to help children learn, now they may become a human shield. Oh and Miss Stacy makes $9.40/hour and has no benefits. Last week she spent $14.75 at Staples purchasing some classroom supplies. Mrs. Smith has listened to people bitch about her getting summers off for the past 27 years that she has been teaching. She wonders why the union hasn’t argued for hazard pay. This is public education in America, welcome to the flaming fox hole.