Vogt's Notes: Kudos to schools for keeping our children safe
Schools close in Colorado after credible threats are made.
Bomb threat shuts down the University of St. Thomas St. Paul campus.
Garfield School goes into soft lockdown as police investigate shooting complaint.
Those three headlines appeared in the news just last week. All in the same week.
Schools in the Denver area closed Wednesday, April 17, after an 18-year-old woman traveled to Colorado from Miami and made threats against schools, according to news reports. She allegedly bought a pump-action shotgun in Colorado and reportedly had expressed an infatuation with Columbine and the teenage gunmen who carried out that school shooting 20 years ago.
Also Wednesday, April 17, the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul canceled classes as authorities investigated a bomb threat that was phoned in to the school. Two buildings were evacuated, but nothing suspicious was ever found.
Closer to home, the shooting complaint at Garfield Elementary School in Brainerd prompted that school to have a soft lockdown, meaning all classroom and exterior doors were locked. Luckily, the noise that sounded like a shotgun shot was determined to be an illegal firework set off at a residence. There was no threat to the school.
We never had lockdowns in school when I was young. We had fire drills, of course, and I grew up in Minnesota so we also had tornado drills. I remember a day in second grade when we had to stay in school for an hour or two longer than usual because of a nearby tornado. We didn't sit against our lockers in the hallway; we stayed in our classrooms. But I remember fearing the tornado would hit my house. I believe it struck a trailer park that wasn't far from my neighborhood.
I don't think any of us thought we'd see the day when schools would have routine lockdowns to prepare for dangerous intruders. What a world we live in today.
I called my sister the day Denver area schools closed to see if my nieces stayed home. I got my answer when my youngest niece answered my call. A day earlier, my oldest niece had left school early for a sporting event when that threat was made. My sister said they had to clear the field without retrieving their bags so my niece didn't have her cell phone. My sister couldn't reach her, and I can only imagine how distressing that was.
School resumed for them Thursday, April 18, after the woman who allegedly made the threats in Colorado was found dead.
As frightening as news of school lockdowns can be - especially when your children or people you know are involved - thank goodness schools exercise these precautions. I believe everyone wants our children and school staff to be safe. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
It's a sad but true fact of our world today.