Wednesday, November 5, 2014
The "Visit With A Friend" Story
It was an ordinary day. My friend Jim, who is now teaching in the classroom that I designed and taught in for close to 20 years, made a visit to check on my health and bring me up to date with what is going on in the school district where I graduated from and taught in for 32 years. When Jim began teaching at Manheim Township High School I quickly got to know him since I was still employed by the school district to print in-house materials for the school district. And, that required that I work in the classroom where he taught. He welcomed me into his classroom right from the start. Even asked for help every now and then. Well, Jim emailed me the end of last week to see if I was up to having visitors after my back surgery. Returned the email telling him I would love to have him stop for a talk. We talked about my recent visit to Hawaii as well as my recovery and then I asked him about the guys in the tech ed department and how they all are doing. I then asked him about the lock-down that was experience at the high school two weeks ago. Seems a 22 caliber live bullet was found in one of the classrooms and the Manheim Township Police officer who is stationed in the high school decided it best if he called for a lock-down. Teachers got an emergency email telling them not to allow anyone to exit the classroom and doors were locked. Jim said that he was lucky since his best class was in his classroom at the time. At first they had no idea about what was happening, but with the news services in the county broadcasting about the lock-down, they soon found the info on their phones. Everyone was very cooperative as a search of everyone in every part of the school was begun. No lunches were served and bathroom breaks were stopped. After about three and a half hours in his classroom, security guards ushered students to the bathroom. Eventually, room by room, everyone, including teachers, was checked with a wand for metals. After a room was checked they either boarded a bus and waited or left by car. Eventually everyone in the school was checked and a long day ended. Nothing was found from the search. The school district was commended in the local press for being so thorough in protecting it's students. Jim said that for most of the day the police officer questioned his approach of ordering the lockdown, but in the end he was also commended for the way he handled the job he was paid to perform. I talked with Jim as to how things have changed so much over the years. Back in the early 1970's, when I coached the rifle team, it was nothing to have a case or two of live 22L rifle ammo in the closet of my classroom. I would carry a few boxes of bullets to the rifle range after school for practice. No police ... no security guards. There is still a rifle team at the school, but they now use air rifles. How our society has changed! I thanked Jim for the visit and conversation as he headed home. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.