It’s the day after. Exactly 24 hours actually.
It affected me way more than I thought it would. Unfortunately what would happen during a school shooting has been in the front of our thoughts as a society. So when it began to happen here it almost didn’t seem real.
I’m in Uber driver. And I was getting ready to go out for the day. It was later than I wanted about 9:30. I heard sirens. We live rather close to the police and the fire station, so at first I didn’t really think anything of it. But then there were more sirens, and more. 20 maybe more could be heard coming from all directions. I knew something was up. The thought did cross my mind this is what it would be like if it was a school shooting, but I didn’t except that. I dismissed it. It wasn’t till later that I thought if it were the school I would get a text message from the emergency system. But I didn’t. So I went on about my day.
I was gasing up and getting ready to head towards the city. I heard sirens. They kept coming up the Highway that leads from the city. Then military trucks. This was serious, but I still have not received that emergency text, so I kept driving.
Then my husband, who works at the high school, sent me a text message. Told me it was a school shooting at the other Middle School. Not the one my daughter was at, so she was safe. And he and my son were safe at the high school. I’m not sure what to do. I pick up a passenger, and the shooting comes up in the conversation. That was what they were all talking about. I tried to text everyone in my family between my rides. And my son responds “we’re in lockdown”. This is after I thought the shooting had been wrapped up. So I write to him and he says “we’re hiding”. “We hear voices outside.” So I write to my husband and he verifies that they’re in lockdown and that what he hears outside are police officers. I keep driving, I take another person, but it’s beginning to feel more and more wrong to just continue on.
I heard it on national news. I picked up a few more people, but then at some point, I decided to head home. On my way in, I began to notice a touch of chaos coming from Nobelsville Schools system. My daughter’s school gave the option for parents to pick up their children early. But the details were we’re not well thought-out. “You can pick up your children early, but you have to do it by 1:30 and if you don’t pick them up by 1:30 then the remainder of the children will have to wait until the end of the day at 2:30.” Usually if you pick up your kids early you have to go to the office or call and have them pulled up from class. I felt like going straight to the school would be crazy busy. I would be standing in line and wait for them to get her out of class. So I called for them to pull her before I got there and of course as I’m calling I thought ‘there’s no way they’re going to answer the phone.’ And they didn’t. I was sent to leave a message. They usually really have it together, so I knew how this was affecting the systems.
I received messages that high school was letting out early. I wrote to my husband, “are you guys coming home early’? He and my son ride together to and from school. His response was only “hah’
As I was finishing up a bit of lunch, my son came home. And as he told his story I think more shock settled in for me.I remember… Listening to it was difficult.
For him It all went down during their passing Period. He remembers a teacher yelling at everyone to “get into a room! get into a room!” The emergency code went from yellow to Orange to red. And the kids didn’t know what was happening.. he said many kids were crying, bawling. He said a couple of them threw up. What was going on? …
As the affected Middle School kids were being bussed to the high school, there was a bomb threat at the high school. An unattended bag on the top floor. This happening with a gym full of 1500 Extra students.
I was going to wait to regular pickup time and get Marin but after hearing Kearns story I left right away, wanting to be one of the first in line.
Driving through town did not feel normal. There were police cars parked in the lawn and on the walk way to the main entrance of the elementary school that I pass along the way. Pulling up to the school was not normal either. The the school is on a road that has big open fields across the street, this had now become a parking lot. There was a helicopter overhead. There were police cars everywhere. When I got in line, I got the spot that I expected for that time of day. I would be one of the first 15 to pick up if it were normal. But what would have taken 20 minutes at the most, took an hour.
When I got Marin in the car, it was like we didn’t really know what to say it first. I decided to just be quiet, because I knew she had a story to tell.
She had been locked in a small room with her class for almost 6 hours. They didn’t know what the event was at first. Someone had told them that a code yellow could be anything from someone at a bank nearby. To someone suspicious in a neighborhood close by. But then someone had their phone, which you’re not supposed to have your phone, but this friend did. And she looked it up. And found out that it was a shooter at the other Middle School. My daughter had her iPad, so she was able to send emails to some of her friends and other classes and to her brother. This helped her deal with what was happening, but she did have several anxiety attacks. Which I expected.
Sometime later my husband gets home. And his day was equally traumatic. He was put in charge of retrieving the affected school children from the gym when the parents came to get them. There was a system in place for pickup. As the parents came through the line each one had to fill out a paper with their child’s name and their name and identification. Then 10 at a time, these sheets were taken to the gym where the kids were being held. My husband collected the kids and got them into a line. They had to walk out the way that you see them on TV. With their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them, only 10 at a time.
I was surprised by my psychological response to all of this. My reactions.
I disassociated a little bit. I could tell. That’s something that I’ve become acutely aware of as a response that I have. All of my comfort habits kicked in. Where I may have been able to talk myself out of eating crap on a normal situation, I didn’t resist. I saw this in my kids too.
My husband came home and had to leave within a half hour for a gig. My daughter wanted to go to her regular gatherings with her friends at the church. My son needed to sleep. He was already out like a light. I wasn’t sure what to do.
I had to feed all of us. I decided I did not want to cook, that I would go to the drive-thru. Driving with scattered. On my way I went the wrong way, twice. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt like a fog was over my thought processes.
By the time I got home I was exhausted. And I knew that I needed to just lay down. Then I would get up and take my daughter to her gathering. On the way taking my daughter she had all kinds of new information that she wanted to talk about. And it was like I could not take on any new information. I listen to her because that’s what she needed but I couldn’t process anything. I don’t know how else to explain it. When I got home I went right back to bed. I missed the messages that my daughters gathering was ending two hours early. That she had a ride home. I woke up for her knocking at the door to be let in. But then I laid right back down. I was exhausted.
I did wake up later in the evening and was up for about 2 hours and then went to bed for the night. I slept a little over 12 hours. And I still woke up not really sure what to do. Everyone else is still asleep. I had coffee. I started some laundry. And then I decided to write.
My background thoughts through all of this and especially now that I’ve written it down, if this is what I’m going through, what are others going through. What about the kids. The kids were in the room. The kids that were in the room next to that room. The girl that was standing right next to the girl that was shot. If this was somewhat debilitating to me, a mother whose kids were not even in the building, I can’t imagine what’s going on on the west side of Noblesville Indiana.