2006-01-12 - 1:20 p.m.
December 5th started out like any other day I suppose. The kids were on the bus to school at 7:30 and by mid-morning I was through my pot of coffee and Dr. Phil and in the middle of Oprah when the phone rang.
"Hon, I just heard on the radio that there was some kind of fight at the school."
"Was it bad? What happened?"
"I think some kid got beat up or stabbed"
"Aw crap. I'll call the school. Why don't you come home in case we should get the kids."
I called the school.
"Yes, I heard there was an incident. Is everything ok?"
"We were just about to call you. All parents must come pick up there kids at the back gate."
"My kids are ok?? What happend? Was it bad?"
"Your children are ok but please come and get them"
As soon as my husband got home we raced to the school. Cars were weaving in and out and blocking paths to the gate. A guard motioned us up and the door opened. My three children walked out holding hands. As I watched them, I noticed my son seemed fine and my youngest kind of oblivious to the chaos. My oldest daughter seemed tense and pale. They climbed into the car and shut the door quickly. I turned around and put my hand on Kellys leg and asked if she was ok. In that moment it was like a wave came crashing down and she began to weep hard. She shook and she cried. I held her hand tight and assured her everything would be ok.
"You should have seen his eyes, mom...they were wild....crazy....and the blood was everywhere"
What the hell happened? What had she seen?
It seems that the morning started out like any other with the exception that a former high school student had returned to school with his father to re-enroll. He was able to with the warning that he must show up and work hard this time. He promised and made his way to class. It was around the start of 3rd period when he entered his classroom smiling, walked right up to another student and slashed his throat with a 12 inch blade. Kids began to shriek and bolt for the door. I'm not clear if he stabbed the boy further but he was definately dead when medics arrived. The murderer proceeded to walk down the stairs and through the hall clutching a very blood soaked knife. He attempted to walk into another classroom but the door was locked with the children huddling inside. Then as if nothing were going on around him he began to walk casually toward the front entrance. My daughter had just suited up for P.E. and was under a tree next to the field. The road next to the tree led toward the entrance. She stood frozen in fear as she saw him walk up the road drops of crimson blood hitting the ground. He came within 8 feet of her and she couldn't move. She stood and looked in his eyes. He wore the expression of the joker. Some sort of twisted grin, she said. She was looking into the eyes of a young killer and couldn't move. He passed her by and then the guards came down on him full force. One got his hand sliced attempting to retrieve the weapon.
Kelly then ran toward the school and ushered the Pre-K children into a safe place to assure they wouldn't see anything. She did not cry or show any type of fear. Her only thought was to get the kids away from seeing anything. When we arrived and she was away from it all that's when she finally let go.
I am so angry. Someone ripped a piece of her innocence and childhood away in that moment. That image is burned into her brain and I can't erase it. I felt so helpless. She had counseling right away and saw several people. They had a service at the school and she stood up and read a touching poem that she wrote for the boy. She seems to have moved on pretty well. Although I know that image will come back and haunt her from time to time in her life. She has learned a hard lesson in that this can happen anywhere to anyone for any reason. Why? We don't know. How do we make our kids feel protected and safe when there are no guarantees? How do I say go be a kid when she looked death in the face? I still don't know.
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