Hunter’s teacher encouraged parents to attend their student’s unit presentation last week. We were set up in the hallway in front of a large map documenting all the civilizations students were presenting on.

Before Hunter’s group presented – seemingly, out of nowhere – we were ushered into the classroom and the door locked behind us as the school entered a lockdown. It was clear both the teacher and students had been prepared and knew exactly what to do in this situation. The lights went off. Students sat silently on the floor as the teacher hurried around the classroom finishing up lockdown protocol. Whether it was a drill or not, we were unsure because everything felt a little too real.

I wasn’t in the same classroom as Hunter but knew he had to be next door or one classroom over and I knew Hallie was almost directly above us in the same building because I had just seen her as she made her way to class.

Since my kids were in other classrooms I sat on the floor with 3 other parents who showed up to listen to presentations. And I’ll be honest, I sat in complete awe and disbelief for what these students go through. It was a terrible feeling. None of the kids seemed overly concerned as they were all quietly on their phones. But I had this pit in my stomach for what has become normal protocol for them. I understand it’s necessary but sitting on the floor that morning, it was far more unsettling than I could have imagined. I have a new sympathy for my kids every time I get an email that says they went into lockdown as a drill or as a precaution.

Fortunately for us, the lockdown was accidental. It was really short and before long it was back to hallway presentations. But I walked away thinking how much high school (and all education) had changed since I had wandered the hallways. These kids know no different – they are being raised with phones and lockdowns and they are thriving. We do not give them enough credit!