Code Blue

When I was in elementary school in California, we had the typical fire drill, and because we lived in the Bay area, we also had Earthquake drills (duck under your desk, protect your head and neck using your arms). When I moved to Michigan in junior high, I had to become familiar with Tornado Drills.

These days, in addition to Fire Drills and Tornado Drills, the elementary school students are learning the drill for “Code Blue”. I just heard about this from my five-year-old yesterday and am in part stunned that I didn’t learn of this from the school. Code Blue, in case it’s something different in your area, is what they call it when someone comes in to shoot up the school. Code Blue is where they teach the kids and teachers to barricade themselves in the classroom, tip the desks up and hide behind them.

I understand that there is a relevance to teaching this – you just never know who is going to go postal and do that sort of thing. In the days of Columbine and Virginia Tech and all of those other schools where it’s happened, preparedness is probably a good thing. I’m not going to be unrealistic – I understand that it’s one of those unfortunate things they teach with the hopes that the students and teachers never have to use it (I’m sure they feel that way about fire drills and tornado drills as well – and while I’ve felt several earthquakes and utilized my earthquake knowledge several times – I have never – knock wood – ever had to utilize my tornado or fire drill knowledge). I so hope that happens in the case of Code Blue.

While I understand the importance, I’m not going to lie: it freaks me out and saddens me that my five year old is learning to hide from imaginary gunmen when she should be coloring and learning to read. Further, I’m a little bit mad (um, okay, more than a bit) that the school has not sent home any letters to the parents describing the Code Blue drill or what they told the kids about the Code Blue drill. I have no idea how much of The Princess’s information comes from the teacher and how much comes from her peers on the schoolbus.

When my family moved to Michigan in 1990, it was with the intent of “wrapping us in cotton” – to move away from a rougher environment, into one my mom felt was more safe. I remember in 8th grade, a kid brought a gun to school – not to inflict violence on anyone, but rather, just to show it off. Unfortunately, a student did end up getting shot with that gun. In the leg. I don’t remember lock downs – I’m sure there wasn’t any. It was a horrible thing, absolutely, but, there wasn’t that fear of what his intent REALLY was bringing that gun to school. My mom packed us up, moved us across country. Though the gunshot wasn’t the catalyst for the move, it certainly didn’t hurt my mom’s case that our neighborhood just wasn’t safe enough.

So here we are. We live in the same small town my family moved to nearly 18 years ago. This place that was supposed to be so safe…

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. That really is horrific & I agree that the parents should have been informed before anything was said to the children! We get notes home about bus saftey drills & fire drills…and those are pretty much run of the mill things.

    I’m glad my kids go to a very small public school, but I know these things are coming. It makes me sad that they don’t really get a chance at innocence anymore.

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