This past week has, as have the last couple of weeks, been filled with all kinds of happenings -most not that bad overall.
However, yesterday proved to be the exception to that rule.
About 10 a.m., I was talking on the phone to my son and got the familiar beep-beep sound indicating someone was trying to call here. Since I was expecting a call from a neighbor up the road, I hurried and disconnected from my son and clicked into the incoming call.
When I did, I just managed to catch the end of a recorded message from our local school district in which they stated the children were being dismissed at 10 a.m. on that very day! But there was no explanation whatsoever given as to the reason behind this early dismissal.
Hmmm. Wonder what was going on with the school? So I clicked over into Facebook and there, very near the top of the page was a post from a friend who lives about 4 miles from us stating the school was sending kids home, that both the junior-senior high and the elementary students had all been evacuated from the building due to a bomb threat.
A what? Did I read that right? A bomb threat in our school in this very small rural area?
Incredible as it may have seemed at first, it was indeed true.
I kept following postings to that friend's facebook to try to learn more of what happened, what was now taking place, and getting a bit of an idea too on when I could figure the grandkids would be getting home.
Along about 10:30 a.m. I got a call from my next-door neighbor who teaches at the school. She wanted to know if Mandy per chance still had the spare key to the neighbor's house since she needed it about two weeks ago to tend to their dog while the neighbor and her daughter had taken a bit of a vacation over the Easter break to go to North Carolina to visit her older daughter who now lives there.
I had no idea if Mandy still had said key or not and if she did have it, I had no idea where she might have stashed it either.
I hadn't wanted to call Mandy to tell her what was happening since she was at work and didn't want to get her all worked up and worried there while trying to wait tables, etc. But now, I had to call her.
Thankfully, by that time I had more information and some idea as to when the kids would be getting home and I knew they were okay so I could talk to Mandy and tell her all that and thus help her to stay calmer during all this mess.
As it turned out, Mandy did have a copy of the neighbor's house key and she told me where to find it then too. If I'd had my vehicle here, I could have then made arrangements to run up to the school and pick our neighbor up and bring her home. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that because Mandy's car was in the shop and she had to use my jeep to get to and from work yesterday!
And by the way, the reason the neighbor wanted to know if we had a copy of her house key?
When they were ordered to evacuate, no one knew what was happening, why the evacuation so only a very few thought to grab their jackets and their purses! And of course, in my neighbor's purse were her house keys, her car keys and her cell phone!
About 11 a.m., one of the vans used to transport the special ed kids and which Kurtis rides every day, pulled up in front of the house and I went out to get Kurtis off the van. He handed me a paper that I was told I needed to read "Read right away, Gram!" he said. So I looked at it and saw it was a note from Kurt's TSS stating she was at the school as her keys to her car, cellphone and all other things were locked in the school until the state police finished "sweeping" the place, looking for more evidence, checking to see if there was a real threat existing or not, etc.
At 11:30 a.m., Maya's bus came through and she was home.
Neither of the kids had any idea as to why they had been evacuated but as I learned later from Kurt's TSS, it had all gone pretty smoothly, all things considered.
We've since heard that a teacher had found a note in the bathroom for the high school boys and later, it was being said the police had said it was a girl's handwriting on this note. Hmmm. Do we think we are being ultra-tricky by having a girl write this or was this a joint operating effort all the way around?
The latest news this morning was that this was still very much an active, on-going investigation and that when apprehended, whoever is found to be responsible for this will see prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
When I spoke to my son later yesterday morning and told him what I knew then that had happened, what was going on, his initial reaction was to state it was probably some kid who thought he/she wanted a day off from school and nothing would be found, no bomb would exist and he seemed not to be taking it that seriously.
True enough, I thought that most likely this was the case but I also reminded my son that no schools, no businesses for that matter, take threats like this lightly today! And even if it does turn out to be a "false Alarm" if the individual(s) responsible are discovered, they too will be in for an extremely rude awakening when they get hit with possible jail terms and extensive fines!!!
And, all of that does nothing to absolve the fears, the panic that was placed into the minds and hearts of most likely just about every single parent in our school district until they learned the children were all safe. But even once you know that, the fear is there then that something as unspeakable as a bomb COULD very easily have been there, COULD just as easily exploded, COULD have injured, maimed, even killed any number of people!
Once a fear is introduced into any parental minds of some type of situation that their child could have been exposed to, it tends to stay there for a good amount of time! It nags at you as you think about what could have happened and yes, you're grateful it didn't come about to that but still, the imagination then runs rampant!
What sense is there in creating that type of frightening imagery is there for those who do things like this anyway? What pleasure does that person receive anyway in the torment that then goes on in the minds of the parents, caregivers, and for the students too? What kind of mind does something heedlessly like that anyway?
I think back to when Maya was not quite four years old and we -Mandy, Kurtis, Maya and I -were all at a big picnic about 6 miles from the house and at the camp where this picnic was being held, there was also a fairly good sized pond. It was large enough that there were some water conveyances there -a raft I believe and perhaps a canoe or two and a row boat -no motorized crafts, but things that could be used to ride on the water, ya know. My son was also present at this picnic as were several other extended family members -my niece and her children, plus many of her aunts, uncle, their children too, etc. A large gathering, for sure.
And suddenly Mandy appeared in front of me as I was seated on the front porch of the camp, talking with friends and I had Kurtis with me, in his stroller. The look on Mandy's face was sheer terror as she told me she had "lost" Maya, couldn't find her!
Maya had been playing with my great-niece and a couple of her cousins -all children about the same age -however, those kids were of a level of maturity that Maya had not yet acquired and Mandy was absolutely panic-stricken. She had seen her brother and called out to him that "Maya is missing!" and he had dropped whatever he was doing immediately to start searching for Maya. As he was moving around, he encountered our neighbor's granddaughter, who was about 13-14 years old then and he asked her if anyone had been down near the pond to search and she said told him not that she knew of so he said he was on his way down to the pond.
And how fortunate it was indeed that he did that because as he arrived by the pond, there was Maya wading in the water, oblivious of the fact that this pond is known to have sheer drop-offs in the depth. He ran into the water and grabbed her up and began running with her in his arms to find Mandy so as to be able to put her mind to ease that Maya had been located, safe and sound -thankfully.
But how quickly that could have turned into a tragedy!
And for weeks afterwards, I had nightmares, night after night, in which I kept seeing Maya, floating face down, on that pond!
That's how easily a scare can scar a person and in some instances, leave emotional damage that may even need therapy to eradicate it!
So, to anyone who might be considering a prank such as this, that it is harmless, no one gets hurt, think again!
Not only can it hurt and scar people with emotional trauma but there is also the financial costs involved in things like this too. It does cost money to have buildings checked out to assure they are free from any explosive or harmful items. It costs in extra manpower too when people have to be pulled away from their regular work to go provide Fire Police protection and various other tasks that become part of the situation too.
Freedom isn't FREE -not at all -when it comes to what seems like a fun thing to do!
And today, I'm relieved, as is Mandy, that the staff, the administrators, the bus and van drivers and many other personnel responded as speedily and effectively as they did to see to the children and get them removed to a safe haven.
I'm also relieved that it was a hoax because in that respect, there was no physical harm involved.
But, I do hope whoever did this is sweating bullets right now, in fear that the police might be on their way to make an arrest!
And I do hope too that if/when the perpetrator of this hoax is found, arrested and sentenced, that they get a really harsh sentence imposed on them then too!
If whoever did this is never located, then I just wish for that person -or those persons -involved in this that someday they have a child and something happens that puts them in the same position as all were placed in here yesterday -of not knowing if their child is safe or is injured, or if other people are endangered or building damaged or destroyed.
It's the not knowing, being unsure of events, that really locks into people's minds and scares the living daylights out of you!