Abigail forgot her homework yesterday, so I wound up visiting her school. I like the school and I like the staff. There were a couple of differences that were glaring to me, but probably wouldn’t be to the casual visitor, though.
They have some new security procedures in place since the shooting up in Bailey. Bailey is a very small town, like Shawano, but the event has rocked us all. The new procedures are fairly non-intrusive, but were noticeable to me. The principle has the unsavory task of increasing safety and security while not turning the place into a prison. There has always been a police cruiser parked out front, so this is nothing new, really, except that in the 70’s it was unheard of, but now there is a small office on-campus that a regular officer works out of. As I approached the school, I was greeted by a genial but tough-looking guy who is the head of security there. He is a friendly chap, but one of those guys that gives you the impression that you just don’t want to tangle with him or owe him money. He stands outside among the students visiting and just pleasantly asks how you are doing and can he help you.
“I’m here to drop off my daughter’s homework.”
“Okay. You can find the office?”
This has never happened before. Then when I get through the main doors there is another guy standing there, (their uniforms are innocuous, a polo shirt with an embroidered badge, a shiny metal badge on their hip.) offering to help, but the office is right inside the door. The office folks are nice and my daughter is at lunch. I am handed a sticker with the Panther logo that has a space for my name and date & time of arrival and head to the lunchroom. It is crazy, wacky-tacky dress-up day and the students have a lot of school spirit. I only know a few of the students and as a teacher passes by she reads my badge. I never got one before, but it is clear that someone is paying attention. I can’t find Abigail so I return to the office and one of the assistant principals greets meet while scanning my sticker.
Abigail says they had lock-down practice yesterday, too and unlike last year everyone was very serious and paid strict attention to the codes and procedures. The mood was somber. As she tells me this I recall what she said several times last week as the events were unfolding on the newscasts, “That could be my school. That exact thing could be happening in my school.”
On a slightly more upbeat and kind of darkly “humorous” note, it was the first day of school for one of the students in Bailey, who had been home-schooled all her life. I don’t know if she went back or not.
The Good Book says, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped…”