Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Life on the street

Tuesday night, I got to see how my daughter made it through her middle school day. Wednesday morning, I got a live demonstration of how her school does fire drills. I was volunteering in the library when the alarm went off, and dutifully filed out with the kids and teachers and staff, expecting to return in a moment. Except we didn't return in a moment. They kept directing us further and further from the building, with one group of kids eventually walking all the way down to my son's elementary school, where they took up residence on the playground; one group walking up the street to a parking lot where they could spread out; and another taking a third route that I couldn't see. We were, at any rate, to be out of sight of the building, which didn't seem like a good sign, nor was the endless stream of police and fire and bomb squad vehicles turning into the school parking lots. At about the 30 minute mark, I bailed; since I had had the foresight to bring my purse, and our position at that point was right next to my car, I took my prerogative as a non-employee and split to the pizza place across the street -- where a steady stream of teachers and staff members running in to use the bathroom kept me apprised of the progress of the exodus. When I'd finished my lunch, the kids were still outside. When I got to my son's school for my afternoon library duty, the kids were still there. It turned out to be a 90 minute bomb scare instead of a three minute drill, but all was well that ended well and my daughter said she had a great time hanging out in the parking lot. They don't include 90 minutes on the street in the back-to-school-night presentation. But isn't that just why we volunteer?

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