Safe and sound-proof

There was a lock-down drill today at the local high school, where I served as a substitute teacher. It was a small class, so we crowded into a tiny room between the band and choir rooms, where uniforms and choir robes are stored. Fortunately, the room had a window, so despite being trapped between two soundproofed rooms, we had a bit of light. We couldn’t hear the announcement that the drill had ended, but were able to see through the band room into the hallway and when other kids passed by, we were grateful to emerge after 20 minutes or so from the stuffy room.

Had it been a real lock-down, I would have made them crouch and be silent, but fortunately, we’d been advised it was a drill and enough of them were sufficiently shaken I didn’t make them “duck and cover.” There were a few more than a dozen of us, of various sizes, and standing, we were already wedged in like sardines. Had it been a real lock-down, we would have been a compact mass.

We couldn’t hear the announcement that the drill was over, but after I saw several students pass in the corridor, I opened the door. Most of the kids went back to the worksheets I’d collect at the end of class, but a few wanted to be near me, the grey-haired lady with “the magic cane,” which, I assured them, while we were nose to nose, that would deflect bullets.

“Like in the Matrix,” one girl said, and we’d all laughed.

“I’m Nanny McPhee,” I’d replied.

“You are not,” they collectively thought. “You’re as terrified as we are.”


About Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, was a trial attorney for 25 years and has served on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy on numerous occasions. She was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cleveland State University for several years and served as an Interim Associate Professor of Law in the clinical program at Case Law School. In 2009, she returned to the small southwestern Michigan community where she was raised, and wrote a novel.
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6 Responses to Safe and sound-proof

  1. sammee44 says:

    We never had “lock-downs” when I was in school–only fire-drills and earthquake drills. It seems so much scarier now in the 21st century, for both students and teachers. . .

  2. evanatiello says:

    I was anxious just reading this, even though I read the word “drill.” Those kids are smart, I would have wanted to be near you too, with or without the magic cane.

    • Jane Wilson says:

      The kids all knew the protocol, which was reassuring, but we nearly suffocated in that little room and although we knew it was “a drill,” it was still scary. Thanks for reading, and for your comment.

  3. Way to keep kids calm even in a “drill” situation…you and your Magic Cane! ~nan

    • Jane Wilson says:

      I was lucky to have a small group of great kids. I’ve been through real tornadoes with kindergarteners, which was awful, and when all the power in Cleveland went out I was in a windowless office in the basement of the law school at Case, a year after the shooting at the business school. That was pretty terrifying, too.
      Working the night shift alone at the entrance station to Shenandoah National Park when I was 21 years old was scary at times, too. No gun, just a wooden billy-club and my knitting needles.
      I guess I’ve reached the age where I’m more afraid of falling down the stairs.

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