Letter to the editor: Lockdowns and children’s fears
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Holding a small paper cat she made in school, my daughter tells me, “I make paper animals when I’m scared.”
What fear is there in third grade, and how does she already have a coping mechanism?
On Friday, her school was under lockdown for active shooter training. Recounting her experience, my daughter said she continually bumped the metal leg of the table under which she hid, apparently resulting in a lower score for the class since the goal was to be silent as a fictitious shooter roamed the halls.
Given that the entire school was under this drill, including kindergartners who evidently were prepared for days in advance, I wonder what happened to childhood.
This may seem melodramatic, given that schools are trying to prepare for an atrocity. Yet I’m not alone with such sentiments. Writing for the Atlantic, Erika Christakis denounced these practices as ineffective and psychologically damaging. In addition to creating a fear of the world, these practices also place the onus of safety on children. Why is it their responsibility to keep themselves safe?
Furthermore, what adult believes that even if every child were completely silent, a shooter already in the school bent on doing harm would assume he picked a holiday for his massacre? Then what, try again tomorrow?
I would rather our children learn arithmetic, reading, and about why their parents cannot make the hard decisions necessary to protect them and their peers.
At least art is back in the classroom.