Tuesday, January 19, 2016

over / under

Hello Ballard families,

This morning just before 9:00, we received information from the Seattle Police Department of two incidents that took place within two blocks of school at practically the same time.  First, SPD got a report of an adult white male with a handgun across the street.  

Secondly, a fight of some kind between two school aged males took place on 65th near Salmon Bay.

The incidents were not thought the be related, but the uncertainty lead SPD to advise us to first Shelter in Place (instruction continues with all doors locked), then as the proximity became clear we were advised to switch to a Lockdown (lights out, total silence, no one enters the building) and eventually back to a Shelter in Place.  The Shelter in Place was lifted just past 9:30.
i don't know what's most disturbing:

that i didn't find out about this until i picked up the email from the school's principal at 10:45 a.m.

that i didn't almost puke after reading it.

that i didn't hear from either of my children during the event.

that my wife didn't inform me after receiving a text from our daughter.

that i picked up my phone to angrily text my daughter, "in the future, please let me know when..." 

i stopped there, and nearly threw my phone at the wall. because of how blithely i assumed there would be a next time, and how routinely i was about to chastise my child.

apparently the threat of gun violence is so expected, so accepted, that a lockdown at school is just a normal part of any given day, not worth getting all riled up about.

the occurrence apparently has become so uninteresting that the principal thinks it's perfectly fine wrap up his email to parents with this boilerplate:

Our students and staff handled the incident very well and everyone is now continuing with their regular school day.  Thank you to Ballard's administrative team, security specialists and office staff for their professional, decisive actions.  It is truly Always Great to be a Beaver!
i'm trying to compose a response to the principal...to coherently express my disappointment and fear and frustration. 

but the rage keeps getting in the way. 

i don't think i'm overreacting...
update: my response.

Mr. Wynkoop.

From your closing to this email, my takeaway is that the threat to the school wasn't very serious.

And yet, it was serious enough to put the school on lockdown.

As a parent of two students at BHS, I'm having a hard time reconciling these disparate messages.

Has the threat of gun violence become so expected and accepted that an email that starts "white male with a handgun across the street" can blithely end with "everyone is continuing with their regular day" and "...it's great to be a Beaver!"?

Candidly, your email brought my "regular day" to a screeching halt; and your close, in my view, trivialized the incident.

I'm sure that's not what you intended, so I would be grateful if you would help me understand the messaging here.


Michael Miller

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