Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Drug Deal Gone Bad

Let me start this post out by saying that I am not making light of what happened today.  I completely support and appreciate the actions taken by city officials and emergency management professionals.  The safety of our students FAR outweighs ANY inconvenience.  That being said, here is the story of our day.

Around 10:00 a.m., we received an announcement over the intercom at school.  A suspicious package had been found at a chemical plant near our school and we were being evacuated.  Any students remaining at the school by 11:00 would be transported to another school, in our district but away from danger.

If you are not familiar with the area in which I live, let me explain.  Within a 5-6 mile radius, we have a large number of chemical plants.  An explosion, even if it were a 'small' one, could destroy our area.  Completely.  Even the idea of a bomb threat is a huge deal.  A very respected individual that I know phrased it this way:  "If that is a bomb, and it goes off, our area will be nothing but a hole on the map." I truly believe this.  It would have been a chain reaction.

Immediately, teachers began calling parents.  If a student's parent could not be contacted, that child was transported to the other school.  In my opinion, there is no greater fear than sending a small child home on a school bus, during an emergency situation, to an empty home.  At my school, and I'm sure at most others, we take every precaution to ensure this doesn't happen.

Our car line began at 10:20.  The only way I can begin to describe this was organized chaos.  While hectic, I do not believe that any possible training would have made this go more smoothly.  Local police were dispatched to direct traffic.  Our walkie-talkie's had major interference.  To top it all off, the school's evacuation siren was going off, making it very difficult to hear anything.

The entire faculty at my school; (and I'm sure the other schools evacuated, as well, though I can only speak personally of mine); is to be commended.  Every person on staff reacted calmly and truly stepped up to help in any possible way.  The process of evacuating nearly 600 elementary school students is a team effort, and it could not have been done without each and every faculty member.

A little before 11, the school was empty.  A few select teachers traveled with the remaining students to the safe school.  My girls and I were able to leave the school around 11:15.  We drove to a nearby town, outside of the estimated danger radius.  We had lunch and walked around Wal-Mart for a while.  Around 1:00 p.m., the all clear was given.

The package was examined and found to contain marijuana.  Which, in the big scheme of things, I find hilarious.  Someone, somewhere, is totally stressing out right now.  Not only did they lose their extremely expensive package, but now they have shut down 3 entire counties.  I'd say that was the worst example of a drug deal gone bad that I have ever heard of.

My point is:  I am always amazed at people who gripe and complain when schools dismiss early, close, etc., due to an emergency situation.  I have already seen numerous derogatory comments on the social medias.  I would much rather evacuate my children and my students for something that turns out to be a non-threat that to not evacuate and have the alternative.  I cannot even imagine.

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