Sunday, 18 February 2018

At eight years old


This tweet is possibly the saddest I've read in a long time. It just hit me and almost left me breathless.  

At eight years old, a child shouldn't be worrying about whether their shoes will make them a target for someone with a gun.  They should be proudly jumping about, making those shoes flash and showing them to anyone and everyone that shows interest.  

They should be worrying about whether they will be allowed a pudding after dinner.
Whether they can stay up late that weekend. 
Whether they can play on their tablets. 
If they will still have the same best friend next week. 

They should be worrying about those small things that us adults would pay no attention to. An eight year old should be discovering the world around them in a safe and protected environment, sheltered from the bad and ending the day with cuddles and love from their parents.  

They should not be having to think about how they can keep themselves safe if someone is shooting.  They shouldn't have to be taking part in drills, telling them how to keep safe if there is an active shooter. 

I completely understand the need for drills and for drumming it in to children how to keep safe but it makes me sad that it has to be like this. At this age. And with many Americans wanting the right to bear arms and, indeed, the amount of guns there are in America, I don't know what positive changes could possibly be made to the rules around gun ownership that could be enforced.  

At eight years old, I was worrying about whether I would be allowed to read my book in bed that night. Whether I would be allowed to play on my bike or go to the park. And many other things that seem mundane to us adults but mightily important to someone at eight. It wouldn't have been whether I could stay safe. And alive. At school.  Something needs to change.

Update - 19th March 2018

Last week, my eldest came home with a letter from school to tell parents about the lockdown drills they are implementing. As with fire drills, they are now practicing in case they need to put the school into lockdown, giving examples where this might be needed as:

a dog loose on the field
a swarm of bees on the site
a stranger on site that makes them feel unsafe

They have been incredibly careful about how they have worded this so as not to scare the children and I think this has been successful. When I asked E about it, she told me that they had locked the doors and sat in their classroom quietly whilst the teacher was talking to someone on the walkie talkie.

Whilst its good to see the school take the initiative and put a procedure in place, quite frankly, the fact that this is required in rural Norfolk scares the hell out of me.  I just hope and pray it is never needed in any scenario. 

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8 comments

  1. Oh my word I never thought that our kids would have to practise lockdowns. Especially here in quiet old Norfolk! It makes me so sad to think of the children in America and what they have to go through, school is not the safe place it should be for them #TwinklyTuesday

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  2. I saw that tweet and thought how heartbreaking it was that a child of eight should have to worry about that. It sounds like your son's school are managing to find that balance with trying to prepare for something and trying not to scare the children. It is sad that we live in the kind of world where schools feel the need to think of this sort of thing though. Like you, I hope that it will never be necessary to do such a thing for real.

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  3. This is so sad. And it has really hit home with me, as over 400 schools received a bomb threat across the UK yesterday. One of the schools being my 13 years olds. They shut the school down and sent everyone one home. It's just so scary this world we live in #TwinklyTuesday

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  4. Its so scary isn't it the direction we are going and the impact our world is having on our little innocent ones. It makes me sad. Thank you for writing such an empathetic post and making me think 🤔 x

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  5. This is so heartbreaking, I wish could wrap children in cotton wool X #twinklytuesday

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  6. It is so sad, due to all these shootings that happened at schools in America. I know that they only trying to take safety precautions but it is instilling more fear for those poor kids. Hoping that no child should experience that kind of violence or any violence in the future.#TwinklyTuesday

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  7. I have no idea whether our school has similar procedures - I will definitely ask after reading this. I know It's sad but it sounds like your school is thinking ahead - forewarned is forearmed as they say #twinklytuesday

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