originally published on unwritten .com
As I sit at home looking at this blank screen, so many emotions come to mind when I think about this question, are public schools safe for students with disabilities?
Sadly, the answer that always comes to mind when I think about that question every time I turn on the news to find out that there was another school shooting somewhere in the United States.
My brain always tells me, Tylia you should already know the answer to that is no.
Every time I conclude that public schools aren’t just unsafe for people with disabilities, but for all the students for that matter, my heart begins to break and my mind starts to go blank. With so many school massacre shootings happening I begin to think about what we can do to make this world a better and safer place for society altogether.
When it comes to students with disabilities and an emergency situation, I don’t feel confident that public schools have the proper evacuation plan in place when it comes to protecting them.
I know firsthand how an evacuation plan works for students with disabilities because I was once in a horrific, terrifying experience while I was a freshman attending public school. I was in physical education which was my fifth-period class, but on this particular day, they will run around the track. So my PE teacher just gave me a worksheet to work on. I was working on the worksheet and everything was fine. After I was done doing my assignment for that period I had gone to the cafeteria with my teacher’s assistant everything seemed to be normal.
It wasn’t until five minutes later when my principal came on the intercom with the sound of fear and worried in her voice saying we have received a word of a bomb threat.
Everyone was shocked. It was like we were frozen statues trying to figure out what to do next. What I had to do was go into the bathroom inside the cafeteria’s kitchen. It was minimal and tiny. My wheelchair couldn’t even fit inside. I remember sitting on the toilet, and I began thinking about my mom and if this morning would be the last time she would ever see me.
I began to pray while my teachers assistant looked at me with a face of worry. It was almost it if she had tears in her eyes but she didn’t want them to come out. The central question in my mind was when are they going to evacuate us to a safe place away from our high school campus, away from the threat. I remember sitting at the table coming back from the bathroom next to my ex-boyfriend who has Asperger Syndrome.
He began to worry about what was going on because he was used to being on the same schedule so I can only imagine how frustrated he was not being fully able to understand what was happening. I firmly believe that was because the staff members of the special education classroom didn’t find any practical way to explain to the students that they were going to be okay.
After 30 minutes had gone by, we still hadn’t heard anything else except the fact that the lady that sent out the threat to my school called a radio station with a list of schools she was going to bomb
Besides the question of is anybody going to try and evacuated us this lady could be here planting bombs at our campus, and no one’s here to evacuate us on top of that we’re on the cafeteria they didn’t cover the windows to the cafeteria so I’m somebody decides so if somebody decides to throw a bomb, we’re all going to die.
After it seemed like an eternity, I went over to my friend and asked her if I could use her phone to call my mom, and she agreed. I dialed my mom’s number as quickly as I could, and she answers she says hello. I said, mom, it’s me there’s a bomb threat at school and somebody’s planning to bomb the school and they have this in the cafeteria and they’re not wanting to evacuate us.
I don’t remember what my mom actually said when she hung up the phone and not even a few minutes she was at my school to pick me up, and we walked home since we didn’t live far from the school I was attending.
Once I got home, I went to my room to take a breather and thought about if a school really is a safe place for us to go every day. Even the next day I was still shaken up by the whole thing and wondered in the back of my head if I would be safe at school today.