Tuesday, June 10, 2014

There are no words

It's been nearly two years since I've written.  For that, I am immensely sorry.  Tonight is not a time for catching up though, it's a time for getting thoughts out.

There was a shooting at my school today.  I am safe, the students who were in my room are safe, and in fact 99.9% of the students at my school are safe.  One student was killed, one gunman is dead, and one teacher was injured.  Given that the shooting occurred just minutes before school started, we had potentially 2200 students and 150+ staff on campus.  That there were so few casualties is incredible, but the fact that we lost even one life to a gunman is tragic.

Sometime soon I will record the events as I know them.  I was across campus so I don't know much, but I would like to record my thoughts.  Tonight, though, I want to focus on the good.

Todd Rispler, my coworker, was grazed by a bullet in the hip.  Even so, he ran to the office and alerted them that we had an active shooter.  This initiated the lockdown, and it all happened within minutes of the shooter walking into the gym area with a gun.  This undoubtedly saved lives.

All of the students and teachers  responded as prescribed to the lock down.  I can't speak for every classroom, but I know my room was quiet and calm.  Of course students were upset, but they were under control and compliant, which is a huge feat given that we had very little information and lots of rumors were swirling via social media.

The area law enforcement agencies who came in to help us were professional and authoritative but also gentle and sensitive to the situation.  They were thorough but efficient, which meant we weren't stuck inside without any knowledge longer than we had to be.

The church across the street opened their arms to us.  They let us gather in their parking lot to await transportation away from school.  They opened their restrooms to us, they brought us water, and they made sure we had what we needed.

Trimet arrived with buses to take students and then staff away to the staging area, where we could reunite students with their families and begin to figure out what next.

Wood Village Fred Meyer cordoned off an area of their parking lot for us.  That area was used to reunite students with parents.  It was also the place for staff to gather to get food, water and information.  Fred Meyer employees brought us lots (and lots and lots and lots) of water, cookies, veggies, chips...all kinds of things that we hadn't realized we needed.  By that point it was 1 or 1:30 pm and we were all suddenly starving.  None of us had eaten since the lock down started.

Subway provided sandwiches.  Buffalo Wild Wings brought out chicken.  I saw burgers or something though I'm not sure where they came from.  The Salvation Army was there to lend a shoulder, an ear, and make sure we were all staying hydrated.

One of the middle schools in our district, my former school in fact, let us gather in the cafeteria so we had a private indoor place to meet and debrief.  When we arrived there, we had more water, bananas, apples, other food items that didn't really register, and Starbucks had provided coffee.

My friends and family from across the country, who texted and messaged me to check in, sending love and prayers, and who understood when I was short with them and very light on answers.  Knowing you were thinking of us, being able to stay connected to the outside world, meant so much.

My sweet friend Chrissy, who has offered me her car if I need it, as mine is still stuck at work (along with my wallet and keys).  She continued to check on me throughout the day and updated our other friends so I didn't have to.

And of course my incredible parents, who were there the minute I called.  My dad drove out to our area when I knew that I wouldn't be able to take my car and waited in a nearby coffee shop for about an hour until I was able to leave, all so that the minute I was able to leave I could, instead of having to wait for him to make the 30-45 minute drive out there.

Yes, today was awful, but out of the ashes the Raiders and our community will rise.


Shaindel Beers said...

I am so glad you are safe and that more people weren't hurt but am so sad for your community. Sending good thoughts from Pendleton, Oregon.

Anonymous said...

That's what Dads are for!!!

Marlene Prather said...

I was saddened to hear of another school shooting and these young people loosing their lives, but was impressed with the community support. The support from churches, businesses, organizations and families deserves a Kudos. May prayers go out to the families and friends of the two that lost their lives. Prayers and wishes for a quick recover to the teacher that was injured. And a thank you to all the teachers and police that worked to keep the students safe.