Fear. I know we all felt it.
When the news started trickling in about the lockouts happening all over the Denver Metro area, I felt it, and I know you felt it too.
Late on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening, I kept checking my phone for new information about what was happening at the schools. As a mom of five, I knew that whatever happened, it would affect my family. Sparse information was coming out about the young woman from Florida responsible for so much fear.
When the phone rang early the next morning, I knew why- school was cancelled. When I got on social media later, I saw a lot of sadness, fear, and anger. How can one young woman, the same age as my oldest son, affect the lives of hundreds of schools and thousands of children? How did we get here, and how in the world do we explain this to our children?
My oldest daughter was up with her alarm, and before I left for work I had to explain why she and her siblings had no school on a morning that dawned with a beautiful sunrise and a few lingering clouds. She is an 11-year-old 6th grader, and when I was talking to her, like many of you I’m sure, I measured my words and filtered my thoughts. How much do I tell her? Should I express the REAL concern and fear that hundreds of superintendents, CDE employees, and FBI agents felt? When I told her schools were closed because many people worried that a woman would hurt someone at a school, but they didn’t know which school, she was quiet for a minute and then asked why would anyone do that?
We both cried a little before I left for work.
My oldest is 18, and I knew he was getting a information about what was happening through his friends and social media. Many of our kids don’t watch the news or look at news sites, but rely on information spread on social media. And so much of that was full of details that I, myself, took with a huge grain of salt. So I shared facts with him from the news conference. We knew for a fact that there was a threat to the schools in our area and that hundreds of schools far were closed because of the unknown location of this person. I told him that like him, she is also a senior in high school, and she thought through her plans enough to get here, procure a weapon, and make her way to a community that has already experienced enough pain. Later, we spoke about the press conference that stated she had taken her own life and how sad it was that she felt she had nothing left to live for because of these choices.
My youngest 3 were given very limited, minimal information- school was closed to protect the kids. Law enforcement is working very hard to make sure that when they go back to school, every single kiddo is safe. Sometimes less is more when they’re little. When I asked if they had any questions, they only wanted to know when they could go back to school.
Wednesday, April 17 was a tough day for our beautiful state. It was a day full of fear, confusion, and anger. A day full of hard lessons.
But it wasn’t all bad.
The best part of this day? Scrolling through social media, I saw so much love and support. Law enforcement received massive support for protecting our kids and making their safety a priority. Teachers were thanked. We lifted each other up and encouraged one another not to give into the fear. To choose love.