At about 10:05 this morning I found myself in my darkened classroom, blinds drawn, lights out, and 24 children huddled beneath six tables. It was a lockdown drill. I have never reconciled with myself just where I ought to be on such occasions. Under a table or beneath my desk seems ludicrous: I can't really supervise anyone if I'm on the floor, but I don't want the police officers conducting the drill to bust me for being too visible.
Today I sat in a rolling chair in the corner. There was a thin slat of light below the blinds in one of the four windows that looks out into the hallway, and I could see when someone was coming. Three bullet-proof vests strode by my door to the end of the hallway next door. I heard a radio squawk as they tried each of the three doors before mine. When they tested my knob it jiggled securely, but I dreaded what would happen should one of them lean over and peer into the gap that I was looking out from. Would he make eye contact? Perhaps a pointing gesture to show me that, in the event of a real intruder who might mean us harm, I would be a target?
But there was no opportunity to find out, with the rest of the school waiting, they moved along to other, possibly less secure locations. Five minutes later, the drill was over, and notably, 24 sixth graders who have struggled with silence for the last four weeks had not made a peep. I turned the lights back on, and another lesson, the one we had been working on before the drill, resumed.