It's been a very long time since I've posted a blog. I am still living in beautiful Southern California, going on my fourteenth year! Currently teaching school in the San Gabriel Mountain area, near Pasadena. Lots of crazy and funny things happen at school and some not so funny things, so I will be yapping about those things and also some of our ventures around the SoCal area!
My current place of employment is enclosed by an 8-foot fence. Access into the school is through a main office door only, so a feeling of security is the norm. Well, that changed a while back with a call to the school office from police reporting that our campus was not secure and was in immediate danger. The caller said he was on our campus with an AKA 47. We instantly went into a state of lockdown. For those of you who are not in the school system, this means that danger is immediate and we are to hide our students, turn off lights, lock doors, and try to keep VERY quiet.
At the time of the lockdown, I was off duty in my classroom. My first response was that it was a drill but after a few minutes I heard multiple helicopters overhead so I quickly turned off the lights and hid in my room. I also heard lots of sirens. I had no clue what was happening outside! I checked my school mail on my phone, nothing was posted. My mind was going one hundred miles an hour like, I wish someone was here with me and this can't really be happening. Some time later, one of the inside doors to my room opened slowly and as I peaked out a tiny bit, I could see police entering with rifles and red laser lights ...they were coming into my room in a shoulder to shoulder circle... I was afraid (LAPD doesn't have the best reputation) so I quietly told them I was a teacher and was hiding. Thank God they didn't shoot me!
At this point I still had no clue what was going on to prompt this kind of rescue. I was told to come out slowly (and believe me, I did) and police then escorted me (they surrounded me, facing outward with their guns drawn) into a very large closet. Once inside the closet I found myself with 2 other teachers and about 51 students. No windows and pitch black!! OH yes it was a real experience. We allowed our students to text parents and family, but trying to keep them quiet was not an easy task. Issues like crying and needing to use the restroom were not easily settled. One of the other teachers was texting her husband who had a police scanner and he was able to tell us what was going on outside. That is when we knew exactly what the situation was. I remember standing against a wall and falling down to the ground. My mind totally blank.
Two and half-hours later, we knew the police were coming to take us out but with no windows, the issue of how would will we know for sure it was the police?? Finally, at the door I asked the police to slide a business card under the door, then I very slowly opened the door. Police gave me instructions on how we were to evacuate. We were escorted to a bus to take us off campus to another destination. I was out first and leading, as we walked in a straight line, my view was of police with their rifles drawn, looking through their scopes, ready to shoot, police were on top of the buildings and at each corner, we continued a long single line quietly walking to our bus. Needless to say it was surreal and frightening.
We all made it home and returned to school the next day (oh yes, no down time in the school system). We were later told that the threat was a hoax. The FBI arrested a man living near by who they believed made the call. I think back often on how fortunate we were. As horrifying as this incident was, we learned a lot through this experience. And for that, I am grateful! And believe me when that PA comes on and says, "this is a lockdown", I will move faster than last time!