To the Editor:
I remember when school shootings started becoming more and more relevant. I used to live in Rome, Italy. There we never once had a lockdown or lockdown drill. The idea of someone coming into our school and trying to hurt us was unfathomable.
But when I moved back to the U.S., we started having these drills. So, as the number of the shootings went up, so did the intensity of the lockdown drill.
When I first moved back, they were chill. Over the intercom, we heard “This is a lockdown” and the lights went off, the door locked and we all huddled together in a corner. Simple.
But the number of school shootings was increasing. It still is. We were all introduced to the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) lockdown. Police officers came to our school and went through the steps with us.
We were alerted with way more information: location of shooter/s, whether or not it was a drill, and a description of the shooter/s.
First, lights off, door locked. Second, barricade the door — meaning desks flipped, stacked, chair on top of the desks. It ended up looking like a wild mess of chairs and desks up to the ceiling.
Some desks we saved. We split up around the room, hiding in closets, behind flipped desks, in the most shadowed corners. Some kids would joke about it. Most kids just accepted it; it was the way that they coped with the fear of the unimaginable happening.
There was a walkout at some point, to honor the 14 students and three staff members who died in the Parkland shooting. It was a protest against gun violence.
We were one of 3,000 schools that protested gun violence. It lasted 17 minutes — one minute for each person who was killed while they were supposed to be safe at school.
That, I feel, was the big awakening for the country of the United States of America.