“Monday morning, parents must do what for many will still feel excruciating. Send their children to school. And try not to worry. What a regrettable milestone. The safest place isn’t that safe at all.” — Columnist Rick Green, The Hartford Courant
My daughter and I spent a lot of time talking about what happened in Newtown, CT over the weekend. This morning, on the car ride to her school, I think we both needed a mental break from the news. So we kept the radio off and chatted innocently about whether we’d rather spend 40 hours a week going to school or working at a job.
My daughter’s principal was standing in the rain when we arrived. She was greeting parents from the sidewalk as we pulled up – an obvious indication that in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, things are different today.
I squeezed my daughter’s hand and wished her a good day. She opened the car door, grabbed her backpack and replied casually, “Love you. See you later.” I watched my one and only child walk toward the building. Holding up the line of cars behind me, I couldn’t bring myself to drive away until she disappeared through the school doors.
A police cruiser was parked at the school when I picked up my daughter later that afternoon. Another clear sign that things have changed. A local police officer will be stationed at the school all week, my daughter said, “so everyone feels safe.”
My daughter warned of one more unfortunate modification coming tomorrow. In the morning before the bell rings, the students will no longer line up by grade in rows outside the school, as students of this school have done for past 50 years. The kids have been instructed by faculty to head directly inside to their classrooms, where all the classroom doors will be locked from the inside.
What will happen to outdoor school recess? Or field day? Or soccer games? Or the annual carnival?
Lockdown. “It is the horrible new normal.”