By Andrea Kowalski-Rospierski M.Ed. MSD High School, Language Arts Teacher & Assistant Softball Coach
I’m not sure how to proceed.
Where to go from here, or how to continue moving.
Things need to go back to normal, but I must concede.
Valentine’s Day has become an entirely different thing.
I’m a teacher, a coach, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and now a survivor
Of a horrific event that no being should ever have to suffer.
My school day began like all the rest.
A five a.m. alarm followed by groans, getting ready, breakfast, awaking my toddler, and coffee.
Drop my son off at daycare, get to MSD, park, walk in, kiss my husband, and head to class in the nest.
Teach a couple of periods about Jem, Scout, Atticus Finch, and the others in Maycomb County.
Have lunch with my usual colleagues exchanging stories, news, complaints, and jokes.
Then head back to class for personalization and one more lesson of Harper Lee.
The school day is almost complete.
The quizzes are collected, but then the fire alarm sounds.
Odd, a second alarm in one day, yet we get up and leave our seats.
We head outside, following our protocol, a little strange, wait, did I just hear rounds?
Still, they said we’d have a drill, so follow your training. It’s fine.
Go down to the softball field. If you say so, but seriously it’s just drill?
School has to be nearly over by now.
We are still walking and now we are moving along the canal.
Okay, something is not right. Helicopters overhead and Sherriff cars to the left. Keep going anyhow.
An AP with a radio. Okay what’s really going on? It’s real, active shooter. No way! Not in this locale.
Yell at students to keep walking. We have to move. Pick up your feet, put your phones away.
We get stuck. We stop. The gate to get out is locked.
School should be over, and it should be time for softball.
Students are scaling the fence, running, most are stuck, and we need a key.
Finally, we start moving again. The gate has finally been opened, no longer an impenetrable wall.
We turn the corner, but the path is single file, so it will take time until we are free.
The slow movement continues and we finally make it through. I make it out, yet remain confused.
The street is filled with SWAT, police, sheriffs, all heavily armed, running into my pedagogical home.
Softball practice should be over and it’s time to pick up our son.
I am out. My class is out, but I am incomplete.
My husband should be here, but he was in the building with the gun.
I have no phone, it’s in my desk. I didn’t grab it when we left our seats.
I make contact. Ernie is out too. I’m okay hon. I love you too.