Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

High School Today

on February 15, 2007

Today was my first morning working as a teaching writer in Ms. Ayotte’s Creative Writing Class at Lake Stevens High School. When I arrived at the school, I was greeted with a blockade of six police cars blocking the road by the High School. Following a small car with two high school girls obviously trying to get into school, I looped around and went down another road, and pulled into the high school lot.

Shades were drawn. No kids were in the courtyard or passing classes and men in large, purple coats patroled the parking lot. “M’am. We’re in lockdown.” A man said to me as I got out of the car.

Quickly, I introduced myself to the principal, and explained I was here for Susan’s class.

“Have to leave,” he said. “Lock-down.”

I got back into my car and drove past the elementary school next to the high school. The elementary school where buses had just pulled up and parents were being shooed away from the school.

My insides shook.

School. One of our most traditional elements of childhood. School. What memories do you remember? I bet not lock-down. We had tornado drills. We had assemblies. We had finals, but we sure didn’t have lock-down.

I returned home, waited forty-minutes, and tried again at 9:30. This time, kids were outside, lights were on, blinds were up. When I arrived into the creative writing class, kids were sitting, unsure, after having been locked-down for an hour. Trapped inside their classes. Not knowing if the shooter was a high school student inside the school or someone near-by. In this case, it turned out to be a potential suicide in a house near-by. Not a student inside. This time it wasn’t them.

Quickly, Susan and I changed plans. Instead of taking kids to the library, I would write with them. Poetry. Poetry like I write with the kids in juvie. Poetry from the heart.

We wrote. We wrote about being safe. We wrote about trust. We wrote.

And maybe someday, years from now, when they remember high school and these things called lock-downs where everyone is trapped inside, they might also remember that writing heals.

2 responses to “High School Today

  1. Tatiana says:

    that was one of the scarriest days of my whole entire life.
    nobody knew what was going on!

  2. dolores and torri says:

    i was scared for my life.

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