LCA is a middle and high school, meaning one of the most active and rowdy age combinations is under one umbrella school. This also entails constant movement and noise, which is beautiful when framed as school spirit and joy, but terrifying when it produces a particular sound that is familiar to some. Just this month, I was sitting in Spanish when the next door Bible class was running some sort of game or competition. I heard a set of screams, followed by a loud drilling or popping sound. My first thought was not, “I guess they must be having a lot of fun.” My mind went somewhere very different, and extraordinarily reasonable when you consider the moment in time in which we live.
I wish our political climate was different. I do not know what legislation has to pass to stop school shootings; I would not even know where to begin. But no matter what big-time lawmakers are discussing, we live in the era of danger in our schools. It has been twenty years since Columbine, seven years since Sandy Hook, and one year since Parkland. These names are familiar. They are household names, as well-known to teenagers as 9/11. This is reality.
I do not want to be an old woman on a soapbox telling our school to stop having fun, to stop enjoying each other’s company. That is the worst solution to the problem. And maybe I am paranoid. Maybe I am overly sensitive and buying into the fear that every shooter dreams I buy into. But I doubt that I am alone. We all grew up together. We all saw former President Obama break down in tears after Sandy Hook. We most likely all heard our teachers whispering to each other after every major attack. And we all have witnessed the transition from “lockdown” drills to “armed intruder” drills, practiced as commonly as fire drills. I am not alone.
When elementary school teachers shushed and scolded you about using “indoor voice,” I bet they did not realize it was preparation for our present reality of regular school shootings. But I urge each and every one of you to hearken back to that time and remember your indoor voice. Have fun, laugh with each other, even be loud and fun and creative. But consider the fallout of your actions. While you are having fun screaming and running down the hallways in the middle of the block, someone in a classroom is wondering where the nearest exit is, how to blockade the door, and “would I be able to jump out of this window right now?”
Even if I am alone, even if I am the only one that knows which room is the best to hide in, which room is the best to escape from, realize that screaming in the hallway has no benefit. You and your friends are having fun; I am sitting there trying to control my breathing and focus on the class while all I can think about is the best escape plan. The bubble of LCA can be popped as easily as any other. Please, for the love of everything good in this world, stop screaming in the hallway.