At 9:30 a.m. Dec. 14, I was reading with Robert. He was in his jammies — it was “comfy day” at school. We were in the school library reading “My Penguin Esbert.” We were a 6-year-old and a grandma enjoying a good book and talking about the upcoming holidays. Both of us were feeling happy and secure.
An hour earlier, I had signed in at the main desk, taken my volunteer tag, and proceeded to Robert’s classroom unnoticed by the secretaries. These wonderful ladies are always welcoming and watchful of who is visiting school. But this day, there were probably 6-8 adults and children in the office requiring their attention. I knew the visitor procedure so I signed in unnoticed.
It was not until dinner time that evening that I learned that the unthinkable had occurred at Sandy Hook while Robert and I were reading. Was my visit so different from how the morning may have begun in Sandy Hook? Is Iowa City immune to a similar tragedy? The nurturing, learning atmosphere is obvious once you enter Robert’s school. However, we must be sure that no one enters who might harm any of our children.
I taught in Illinois for 28 years. Since 1999 (Columbine), every school in the district where I taught required that all school entrances be locked, and visitors needed to “buzz in” at the main entrance. A disaster plan is incomplete if it omits locked entrances for all schools.