Friday, September 29, 2006

The term ends with a bang

Today was the last day of term 3. The kids were full of news. According to Ryan who spoke with great authority, there were three men at the school with knives, and one had a grenade. Bethany said a man bashed in the window. The real story is somewhere in between. In the early afternoon, the assistant principal went out the front of the school to talk to a person who had been loitering outside for quite some time. He was a youngish teenager, no older than 15. He pulled a big knife and told her to get inside. She did, of course, and set in train the lock-down procedure. It was just on lunch and all the kids were heading outside. Fortunately, just the week before, the school had done a lock-down drill so everyone knew exactly what to do. Ryan's class has to hide in the classroom under the window (so someone looking in can't see them). Bethany's class hides in the hallway between the classes. The crazy (high?) teenager wandered around the school for a while, with the principal trailing him to see what he was doing (and also looking for any stray children). He caught sight of her as she ducked into the junior primary building and wasn't very happy she had been following him. He tried to kick in the door of the art room (right near where Bethany's class were sheltering). Fortunately the glass was reinforced, so it shattered but didn't fall out. He sort of gave up and wandered around until the police got there (10 minutes it took from the first incident). As you can imagine, stories were flying thick and fast (hence the three guys with the grenade), but it was handled very well by the teachers. The school had their assembly as planned at 1.3o which also acted as a debrief. The principal spoke to all the parents who attended after the children had returned to their classrooms. It all turned out extremely well really, although the assistant principal and principal were understandably quite shaken. Very lucky that they had had a practice just the week before, and also probably a good thing that it was the last day of term (because even in that short hour, the story got bigger than Ben Hur, it's good to have a couple of weeks for it to die down). Our kids of course thought it was a big adventure, even Bethany who could hear the guy kicking the glass and other kids upset. After school they wanted to check out the broken glass, which we did, and Bethany even re-enacted the scene ('He stood right here, and went like this' (kick kick)). Took it all in her stride.
I was glad though, that the 'teenager' (apparently our family's new synonym for 'bad guy') chose the school rather than the childcare across the road to attack. I don't think they have a lock-down procedure, and the kids are a lot less compliant (and there are a lot more windows).
Still, all's well that ends well, as they say.


Nicole said...

That's a bit heavy for little old Gawler town.....

Nana Gabe said...

That is so scary! As a parent you expect in our country school should be the safest place in the world, especially in little old Gawler.The Bunyip will have a field day. Did it make the Advertiser ?