As I wrote the title of this blog post, I am still in shock that this happened at my daughter’s school. I am sure that this is a common fear amongst parents everywhere. It is so hard to even comprehend that something like those would ever happen in our small little town in New Hampshire. However, realistically it doesn’t matter where you life there is the threat of violence.
We have lived in this little town, Barnstead, New Hampshire for about 6 years. We have lived in several towns and cities in New Hampshire and decided to plant our roots here after the first tour of the home. Believe me it is not because the house was spectacular or we have amazing views, that is for sure. I remember the moment I decided that his was the place for us. My husband and I pulled into the driveway and we were waiting for the realtor to arrive. We were talking about the snow and then we went silent. That is when we knew this was it! There was absolutely no noise, no cars driving by, no sirens and no sounds of human life at all.
I know that some people would of run for their lives with all that quietness, not us. We have lived in a lot of cities and on high traffic roads, that we were so ecstatic to find some peace and tranquility. We wanted to move our children into a smaller community, where people were friendly and you didn’t have to lock your doors at night. This town was perfect!
Fast forward almost six years and we are noticing it wasn’t as far in the woods as we would have liked. The town isn’t as close knit as we had hoped either, but it was definitely safer than some of the bigger cities in New Hampshire.
The kids settled in and made friends at their school. I started getting more involved in the community and that is when I discovered that small towns have their issues too. The community isn’t as close knit as we originally thought. There were minor issues at the school with bullies and school policies. So, just because the school was small didn’t mean that all the kids were friends. It also didn’t mean that the parents all got along.
Are family is very opinionated and we have a hard time keeping those opinions to ourselves. So, naturally we have butt heads with a few of the other residents in the town. Which is a little tricky when you live in a small town. You try to be civil and you try to avoid certain people, but there are only so many places to go. The Elementary School is small and if there is a function, you are bound to see the parent that you don’t want to see.
With all that being said, I have found some great friendships here and appreciate the small circle that I do have. There are a few people in town that I am so thankful for and frankly couldn’t survive without. So, when my daughter texted me yesterday, “Am I staying home tomorrow because of the school shooting?”, I immediately started texting with two of the mom’s in town with kids at the high school.
Now my first reaction with my daughter was, “WTF” and that is what I actually texted! We went back and forth for a little bit and she was giving my no solid information. So, I called the school and was reassured that everything was going to be fine and that it was just a crazy rumor that got way out of hand.
I felt a little better, but as a Mom, I still wasn’t satisfied with the information I had. I needed to know more and I needed to work this through with some other moms. So, my texting continued with my two friends. I ended up getting a lot of information and was feeling a little better about the situation.
I talked to my daughter and she indicated that she felt safe going to school. She didn’t think the was any validity to the rumor and didn’t want to miss school for a false alarm. I understood where she was coming from, but on the other hand, I was like there is no way in hell she is going to school tomorrow. How could I send my baby girl to school not knowing for sure that there was not going to be a shooting in the middle of the day.
Other parents were keeping their children home and I wanted my baby home with me. We discussed the situation at length and decided that she would go to school the next day. I kept telling myself that the likelihood of someone shooting up the school was very slim.
I went to bed still very concerned about the decision I had made to let Rylee go to school. I tossed, turned and worried all night. The next day I kept discussion the situation with Rylee and told her she needed to text me between every class and under no circumstances was she to go into the cafeteria (where the shooting was supposed to occur). She was clearly annoyed and was just yupping me to death.
I was so nervous and I was beside myself. I didn’t want her to go and I kept telling her she should stay home with me. She was relentless and kept arguing that it was just a rumor. So, we get in the car and get about 10 feet down the road and I set a text to my friend to see if she sent her son to school. She informed me that her son was staying home. She said to me that she was sure that nothing would happen, but it was peace of mind for her. That is when I knew I couldn’t send her to school. I wasn’t going have any peace of mind, if she was at that school.
I turned to Rylee and told her that a lot of people were keeping their kids home. I went on to say that I wish she would just stay home. We drove a little more in silence and she turned to me and said, “actually can I just stay home?”. Inside I was bursting with joy. I was so relieved that she was going to be safe at home with me all day. However, wanted her to know that she should have made that decision the night before. So, I scolded her a little bit about waiting until the last minute, when we already in the car to go to school before she made the decision. She just smiled.
I drove my son to school and came home, with my baby, and was so comforted knowing that I didn’t have to worry all day about her. It is not that I didn’t trust the school to make an informed decision or that the town police wouldn’t be able to protect my daughter, if something did happen. I just didn’t care about any of that. She is my flesh and blood, unless I had a 100% guarantee that there wasn’t going to be a shooting at the school, I didn’t want her to go.
I know there are parents that think I am crazy and that I overreacted to the situation and I am okay with that. I mean heaven forbid something would have happened at the school today??? I just couldn’t justify one day of school to jeopardize her life. I know some people are saying that she is at risk every time she leaves the house. Yeah, yeah I know. However, if I can make any decisions or prevent any further chances of harm, you bet your ass I am going to do it.
The bottom line is that no matter where you live or how safe you feel, there is always that slight chance that something terrible could happen. Every family needs to do what is right for them. Every family makes their own decisions when it comes to their children. No one side is right or wrong. It is all about what fits with your family and how you want to handle situations.
I am so happy that there was no shooting at the school today and I am relieved that no one was in any danger today. However, if the situation ever arises again I will do the same damn thing. I will never take chances with my children’s lives and I won’t apologize for the decision I made. Yes I tend to overreact, yes I am overbearing, yes I pushy with teachers and school personnel. I won’t apologize for any of that. My kids are my whole world and I will continue to do whatever I can to make sure they grow up in a safe and loving environment.
What would you have done? Would you have sent your child to school or kept her home, let me know.