Wednesday, December 10, 2008

School Lockdown

There are several things that my daughters have at school/daycare that I never had as a kid. They still have fire drills (and the kids still love them). Now, our school, and I think every school in Toronto, has lockdowns and evacuations. Lockdowns are split into 'strangers in the school' and 'strangers out of the school'. They had a practice lockdown a few days ago. Heather, my 9 year old, didn't know it was a practice and started to cry because she was scared.
There's now another element to this scary new world we live in...
I received an email yesterday from the daycare. Two girls were in the bathroom (they always go in at least pairs). While in the bathroom, a man took their picture. They immediately notified the daycare (they are daycare kids). The daycare called the principal down, who then called the police. I'm happy to hear that these situations, while extremely rare, are taken seriously. There was another email update this morning saying that there were more details and that the police and the school were taking it seriously.

When I went to pick the girls up today, Heather was talking about a letter that was in her backpack for me. Everyone got a letter to give to their parents. The letter talks about a 'potentially serious incident' and the steps that the school is taking to keep the kids safe and secure. Leah was talking to Heather's friend, Emily, who promptly came to me and told me what Leah was saying. Leah told us that a couple of days ago she was in the bathroom with 2 of her friends (all grade 1) and a man took a picture of them and then walked away. I immediately asked Emily's father to take Heather with him for the girls to play in the school yard, and took Leah into the daycare manager's office to talk with the manager and assistant mgr about what I had heard. After some prompting, it turns out that Leah may have seen the same man who took the pictures of the other girls. She gave a description of the man and described the camera he was using. What impressed me was how serious they are taking this. I took Leah out and they called the police and the school principal. Most likely, Leah will talk with the police tomorrow.
While I am not completly convinced what Leah did see, I am sure that something happened. She didn't say anything about it because she didn't know there was anything to say. It wasn't an extraordinary occurance for her. She also has a great imagination.
After we left the school, I talked with the girls more and told Leah what a great thing she did and if she talks with the police tomorrow to just tell them the truth with the story.
I received another email tonight, saying that the school is on high alert and will have one door only open. There are several doors to the school, some of which are open in the morning and afternoon (before and after school). Now, only one door in the entire school will be open.

While it is scary to think of this world we live in, I am so grateful that we live in a good area (relatively) and things like this don't normally happen. The school is on 'high alert', the police are involved, and everyone is doing the right thing in insuring the childrens' safety.