The thing you do not want to see when you arrive at school to pick up your child is an ambulance parked outside the back entrance. Especially if it's accompanied by 2 police cars. Hot Guy voiced my fears, "I hope nothing happened to a kid." We decided he would walk around to get Ironflower while I stood with the boys. A woman I'd never seen before was screaming at everyone to hurry up and go home, to leave school property.
Since the bell had just rung and the announcement to get off school property had just been made, I thought the woman was being a little harsh. I was about to take the boys back to the car when I noticed some of Ironflower's former kindergarten classmates standing next to the playground, looking stunned. Their moms tend to just meet them on the playground, often a few minutes after the bell. But of course the police had recently blocked the driveway into the school, so their moms weren't there.
Frankly, it appalled me that these just begun first graders had been dismissed without a parent when obviously SOMETHING was going on. The screaming woman screamed at them to get going and they looked at me. I led them to the principal who had them stand by the driveway. I returned to find Hot Guy and Ironflower, but I was not ready to leave.
Obviously, the inner city school where I taught had a lot more opportunities to handle crises. There were lockdowns from the occasional shoot out and dismissals that had to be handled a certain way to avoid this or that scene. But OMG, my kids' school really needs to update their crisis management handbooks.
After Hot Guy took our kids to the car, I shepherded more and more bewildered kids to an area at the side of the building so they could wait for their parents. I tried to let the principal know each time I found more, as no other staff member (except the screaming woman, who I would not have delivered child to under any circumstances) was present. During that time, several of them got to see the beloved janitor wheeled out on a gurney and loaded into the ambulance.
An email we got later assured us that he would be fine. Obviously they were trying to get rid of everyone before he had to leave in the ambulance but they had NO IDEA what they were doing. Either everyone could have stayed in their classrooms for a few extra minutes so NO kids saw him, OR teachers could have taken all students who didn't have parents at their classroom door to the office. Whoever thought letting bewildered first graders just wait by themselves for their parents (while staring at cop cars and an ambulance) was a good idea definitely needs a crisis management course.
I have no idea who the screaming woman was, but I can't believe that's what they choose to have her do. I can't believe that no one was sent to look for/watch/care about the parent-less kids, that they thought it would be better to have her terrify them.
I really want to be emailing this - more politely worded, of course - to the principal. The email we received said how well everyone handled the crisis, which was total bullshit. Now, again, I know there are probably not going to be shoot-outs, wanted fugitives, drunk parents or even more medical issues at the school this year. They probably won't have a crisis for years, if ever. But what if they do? I mean, we have had an earthquake, a hurricane and flooding in the past couple of weeks.