Our Culture of Fear could be the title of a post on the last two pandemic years, but not this time. As much as COVID hysteria has scarred our children, school hysteria may be even worse. What have we done to the psyches of this captive, vulnerable population?
Yesterday our local high school students experienced a "Code Red lockdown." Why? Because some students reported the presence on campus of an "unidentified adult."
Word of caution: Very little information has been forthcoming from any news reports I have been able to access, so it's likely that there are factors I know nothing about. However, had the person been carrying a weapon or been in any other way particularly dangerous, I'm sure it would not only have been in the news, but in the headlines.
Here's an e-mail that was sent out to parents, redacted to protect the guilty. (Click to enlarge)
I know this school. Our children attended there, and we put in thousands of hours of volunteer time. There are over 2500 students on a very large campus. How anyone could have picked out an "unidentified adult" is beyond me. When I was there, more than 90% of the students and most of the teachers could not have identified me. I would park my car, walk into the school, wave to the teachers, say hi to the students, and get on with my work. No fuss, no guards, no need to sign in, just a friendly neighbor welcomed into the school community.
How things have changed! If I were to do that today, apparently I would be detained, searched, and taken into custody.
Before you lecture me that "It's not the 90's anymore; life is much more dangerous now," remember that the 90's were the peak of violent crime in the last half century. You can see that in this graph, from statista.com. (Click to enlarge)
Crime is 'way down, and fear is 'way up. School parents have reported that their children were absolutely terrified. I'm not sure I wouldn't have been myself, because a "lockdown" is a "lock in" and students can't get out. I'm not fond of being trapped, particularly when I have no idea that there isn't something really terrible going on.
Just as in our present pandemic situation, we are not paying nearly enough attention to the relative danger posed by extremely rare events that endanger children, and the damage a culture of fear does to their mental health.