The upside of a lockdown – SCN Encourager 5/6/2014

I’ve never had a school security action work to my benefit before.

Of course, that’s not ever the concern in these kind of situations.

We know the safety of our students and staff comes first.

But once the safety of everyone was assured, and last Friday’s school “lockdown” was lifted, I felt like I caught a rare good break.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.38.47 PMHere’s what happened.

Every May, my fair city of Holland celebrates Tulip Time. The children’s Kinderparade features about 4000 1st-5th grade marchers from five participating school districts in our community.

The 2014 Kinderparade is on Thursday, May 8… and last Friday (May 2) was the evening set aside for our district’s Dutch costume distribution.

It’s a big deal, trust me.

We hand out (and collect back) what seems to be 45,000 costumes for our boy and girl marchers. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating on the actual number of costumes…)

In order to be ready for the after-school distribution to kids and their parents, we have everything planned out like it’s the second invasion of Normandy.

We start with the massive set-up of tables and big tubs in the cafeteria of one of our K-7 schools.

We have to begin at 2 pm, and unfortunately with classes in session, it’s difficult for me to recruit volunteers to assist with the set-up.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 8.56.05 PMAsking people to help me haul around 75 tables and 500 tubs has never gotten a popular response. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating the actual number of tables and tubs…)

Luckily, I’m always able to corral my younger brother Rick, a school parent and local realtor.

He’d probably love to tell you about the inconvenience and hassle that comes along with being related to me, but that’ll have to wait for another day…

At any rate, I was glad to see Rick pop into the school cafeteria as promised.

“Let’s get it started,” he said. “I may not be able to stay long. I have to meet a client soon.”

Dang, I thought. He just got here and he’s already making excuses… so I pointed out where we needed to move the tables and the tubs, and we we got to it.

Whew! We were cutting it close.

I wondered if we’d even be ready for the after-school distribution.

In the next instant, I received a text from my superintendent, and as I read it, I saw people in the school hallways scramble to close their doors and begin a lockdown procedure.

The superintendent’s text said that a bank robbery had occurred several blocks away and the suspect had escaped on foot with the police in pursuit.

It was his alert message which triggered the immediate safety precautions throughout the school.

Rick and I continued moving tables and tubs in the cafeteria.

We were about halfway completed when Rick announced that he had to leave to meet his client.

“We might as well finish,” I said. “You can’t go anywhere. You’re locked in the cafeteria with me.”

“What?!?” he gushed. “This can’t be happening.”

“Welcome to my world, little brother,” I consoled with an explanation.

“I can’t believe it!” he said, getting visibly upset. (and now I’m not exaggerating…) 

I’m happy to report that the tables and tubs all got moved into place on time and the lockdown was lifted minutes later.

Holland’s 2014 Kinderparade will go on as scheduled.

Tom Page, SCN
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