They Can’t Take My Kiss Away

Last week at my sons’ elementary school, a teacher informed me I could not stand in front of my child’s classroom before school during the drop off. “No parents in the corridor,” exclaimed the teacher in my general direction. Really? Am I the enemy now?

Throughout the year, I have let of number of things roll off me. I’ve seen freshly painted lines and arrows in the parking lot, newly installed signs, fences and video cameras, and memos to read and surveys to complete in my kids’ folders. Volunteer parents dictate the rules of the parking lot, and parking spaces now carry time limits. So many rules and regulations, all in the name of heightened security and safety. I’ve shrugged off the thought that our tax dollars could perhaps be better spent on, oh I don’t know, books. These days, how can we argue with safety?

Never mind the real elephant in the parking lot, the official drop off/pick up site. This is just an accident waiting to happen. The cross walk is situated where kids most likely could be hit. The other day, I almost lost it, yelling at a parent, “I am so soooorrrry.” I very nearly came this close, this close, readers, to honking my horn at her, a Desperate Housewives moment.

Directly before pick up, parents and guardians have been trained to stay away from the classroom. We now have a designated waiting area. The reason being is that it will cut back on unnecessary noise and conversational chatter affecting the students’ learning. So with this, in the name of learning and education, I am on board. This is a logical and a reasonable request.

But to not give my child a kiss before class, this is the last straw. I mean don’t they know my days are numbered? When I step on campus with my fourth grader, I suddenly turn into invisible mom. Who knew I had such superpowers? But my seven-year-old, he stills needs me…

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming of this post, as this blogger’s thought process has wildly thrown off course…

Dear readers, on Mother’s Day, of all days, I read an email about a missing teen, a high school student, who happens to belong to the same water polo club as my son. They don’t know each other, as she is quite a bit older. She’s a high school student, who went missing during school hours.

This announcement stopped me in my tracks for a number of reasons. First, I thought about this mother not knowing the whereabouts of her daughter. There are no words for the despair these parents must feel. I’m not even going to try to put words around this, but know it must be a living hell, a parent’s worst nightmare. I understand this teen is considered at risk and requires medication. I don’t know the circumstances around her disappearance, but that she went missing during school hours, a time in which we expect our kids are supervised, their whereabouts accounted for.

This high school is also where my son practices water polo twice a week. It has occurred to me on a number of occasions that it hasn’t felt safe. The restrooms are located in a dark hallway, accessible to anyone. Now I will forever be watchful, guarded, suspicious, as maybe I should have always been. I have never met this missing teenager, but have shed tears for her, hoping for her safe return.

In the meantime, I can’t help but feel all these enhancements of new signs and fences are superficial band-aides. They may enforce a rule that no parents are allowed in the corridor without a badge. I’m sure it’s coming, and I will abide as a good parent will.

But they can’t take my kiss away. If my kid needs a kiss, he will get one, even if it’s in the parking lot.

photo credit: miuenski via photopin cc

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58 thoughts on “They Can’t Take My Kiss Away

  1. Heightened security is always a good thing but like with most updates there are some pretty stupid ideas amongst them, I guess we just have to follow the guidelines but surely there is no harm in being there for your child before he begins his morning classes. Hopefully there will be some tweaking of the new rules and some revised enhancements on the others so that common sense can prevail 🙂

    I do hope that the missing teenager is found sdafe and well, it is always distressing when someone disappears like that and with todays climate anything could have happened, let us keep a positive feeling on that one my friend 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your afternoon 🙂

    Andro

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    1. Thanks for the kind thoughts, Andro. I’m usually a little reluctant with the new rules, but I suppose they don’t work unless everyone follows them. I don’t think this one is really going to fly or make any kind of difference by having it. Like you said, a little tweaking. I have to throw up my hands, because I don’t have the answer and I wish I could snap my fingers and have school be a safe place. Indeed, I hope the teenagers returns home. Have a good rest of the day yourself. Thanks.

      Amy

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      1. Anything that can be done to make children and adults safe then it should be tried as it benefits us all my friend. Do have a very nice weekend Amy and be well 🙂

        Andro xx

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  2. Whew. With all the information out there, this has got to be one the scariest times to be a parent. I don’t have kids so it’s hard to comment but I do feel concerned about all the heightened security out there and wonder, do we want our children to grow up in a climate of fear? Do we really think we can avoid random violence and the chaos of life? My heart goes out to you and all parents. I wish I believed that much of this heightened security is the answer. I wish I had the answer.

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    1. Exactly. Well said. Do we really want our kids to live in fear? Of course, the way things are going, they won’t know of different reality. I can’t really wrap my head around that one. I, too, wish I had the answers. It’s hard not to follow a rule if it’s supposed to add safety. I’m not sure these rules would make any difference in the era of random violence. But I guess it’s an attempt to make things better. Thanks for your gracious, kind thoughts.

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  3. It’s quite the eye opener when my kid tells me about the drill they had in school should someone come in shooting. I remember doing fire drills and tornado drills, but never drills for school shootings. How scary. So yes, keep on giving those kisses!

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    1. Wow! I am stunned. My kids have not shared this with me, so I’m assuming they haven’t done it. How on earth is such a drill done? And, you would think the kids would be terrified after doing it or would it become “normal,” just another drill? That is scary, Carrie.

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      1. Well, it’s tempered down. They talk about where they would hide, etc. They don’t actually have it play-by-play. But I think it’s good they broach the subject. They need to know where their ‘safe’ place is (although is any place really safe?…) And remember, my kids are older.

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      2. I suppose knowing the ‘safe’ place is valuable information and one that needs practicing, so that if something horrible happens they will know what to do automatically. A drill makes sense even though it seems horrifying. So, I can expect this drill in middle school then? Of course, when is too young?

        Good news, Carrie…The missing teenager has been found!!! Yay!!

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      3. At my kids’ school it’s called a “lockdown”. The lights go off, the doors are locked, and everyone, even the kindergarteners, has to hide under their desks for I believe 10 minutes.

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      4. Hey, my friend. Yes, we have these lockdowns, too. We’ve had a couple “real” ones. When I was kid we had earthquake drills in Southern California. I guess they don’t practice those here.

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  4. It’s so scary to be a parent nowadays! It’s also tough because there are so many rules to protect the kids. My roommate laments because they can’t hug the children. Some of them so desperately need that affection, but the rules are there for a reason. It’s a hard balance between letting go and staying safe.

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    1. It is a hard balance, Jen. Rationally, I guess keeping parents out of the corridor would make it safer, but it would be hard to get used to. You hope that the school is such a tight knit community that people don’t feel the need to have such rules. Unfortunately, things aren’t so, especially since many schools are so big.

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  5. I’d hate to be the Principal of that school when they add that last rule that pushes you over the edge!

    I really hope the girl turns up, and no worse for the wear…

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    1. El Guapo, I have good news to share. Just moments ago, I learned the girl has been found and that she is home safe with her family! I’m so relieved. Yay!!! I’m sure all these good vibes didn’t hurt.

      As for rules, I guess they will always exist. It always takes a bit to accept a new rule, but I come around.

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  6. This post reminds of the children’s book, “The Kissing Hand” and you are absolutely right. They can’t take your kiss away! Many schools have been updating their security measures and that’s a good thing, but I can’t help but agree that it seems like a bandaid. Unfortunately, those that want to do harm ALWAYS find a way. I pray that young girl turns up. 😦

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    1. The young girl has turned up! I have good news on this front. Yay!! I couldn’t be happier for her and her family. She’s at home safe with her family. Finally, some good news, right?!

      I’ve never read the “The Kissing Hand.” I’ll have to look into it. Some of these new security measures seem like they’re more for appearances….because they don’t seem like they’d really keep anyone out. I guess that’s the tough thing, right? Schools want/need to be welcoming places, but they also need to be secure, and now, more secure than ever. It’s a tall order.

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  7. newly installed signs, fences and video cameras

    It all sounds so sterile and 1984-ish. I don’t have any kids so I don’t know what schools are like these days for kids. But I doubt they get away with half the stuff me and my friends got up to.

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    1. Everything has changed since the good old days. It feels like innocence and fooling around time is gone for good. I hate to think that schools are going to turn into some kind of police state. I know that sounds harsh. I’m even in a very safe neighborhood, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

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  8. Ugh, I hate the security stuff. When you think about it, if there is a school shooting it is usually a student that does it, not some random outside individual. The one who shot at the elementary school was the son of a teacher – he was probably fairly well known there. Would all these checkpoints have stopped him?

    I have to run my driver’s license through something to check to see if I’m a child molester – every. single. time. As if I might have become one from one week to the next. It’s crazy. And they get extremely uppity in the office if you have to take your child out a few minutes early. They informed me once that even though we were leaving 15 minutes early, it would be counted a half day absence and I’d better be careful cause the attendance police might get me. And the kid had missed like one or two days of school. But that’s if I’m picking her up early. After school, a teacher goes out with them, but not necessarily their teacher. They let kids go sometimes with anyone who comes without checking. So what’s the point?

    It’s my kid, give her over. It’s almost like they’re in a tiny maximum security prison, yet have about the same amount of security there as most prisoners.

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    1. Wow, Alice. Your school may be even more strict than mine. I suppose you need rules, but when they border on ridiculous the way that attendance rule does. Why would they do that when it’s not in their best interest? That’s very strange. It must just feel like punishment.

      You have an excellent point that people involved in these terrible tragedies usually are someone who people know personally, who wouldn’t ever be red flagged. In that scenario, you just throw your hands up.

      While your school seems strict, they also seem lax about not checking who your kid goes home with. Frustrating. They don’t seem to check at our school either. Once the teacher sends the kid off, it’s goodbye. When I was a kid, of course, I walked home all by myself, maybe with a friend. Times have changed. Well, I feel for you.

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  9. Amy,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Not having kids, I hadn’t thought so much about the effect of recent events on schools. Of course you’re right – do the best you can to comply, but he’s also your son. And listening to your intuition about the high school is so important. I’m glad the teenage girl was found and is safe.
    Cathy

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    1. It would interesting to see of all the changes made because of recent tragedies. What schools are doing. It seems to happen behind the shadows. Like Carrie mentioned her kids have “Shooting Drills,” which sounds horrifying in and of itself. I guess it’s the time we live in. At least the teenager was found safe! Some good news!

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    1. That’s good counsel, Frank. It’s good to talk about a plan of action in the worst case scenario. I’d like to think things will improve in the future, but I’m not that hopeful about that.

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  10. Glad to hear the teenager was found safe and well! I had a terrifying moment a few months ago when I thought my son was missing, I hadn’t realised that he had forgotten to take his house key to school with him, and it coincided with a day where my daughter had to stay late at school, so he’d gone to a neighbour’s house, but neither he nor the neighbour thought to leave a note for me at home to say where he was! It’s the most awful feeling in the world, I’d called the police and everything!

    In terms of strict safety rules, the old saying about a chain only being as strong as its weakest link is so true. I often find that places will have some strict rules in place, but then there’s one thing they haven’t thought of which completely undermines the effectiveness of the strict rules. Another issue I have is that I sometimes think the trouble with having too many safety rules is that people get a false sense of security from them and lose the ability to think for themselves about how to protect themselves and their kids.

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    1. Oh, Vanessa!! I’m sorry to hear about your scare with your son. I would have been on the phone with the police too. And, how a little note could have cleared it all up and made all the difference. I can say that has not happened to me! How scary for you!

      While I see the need for rules, they need to make sense. If they’re so rigid that people need to break them or that they are going to take away from overall safety (people stressed out because rules aren’t followed), then what’s the point? True, you can have all the rules and drills in the world, and they may not make any difference in a critical situation. You still have to be able to think on your feet. Rules don’t mean anything, if there isn’t discussion and communication behind it. Maybe soon we’ll all be getting survivalist training! Where will it stop?!

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    1. It does feel this way, Denise. I want to turn back the clocks when we didn’t jump at every sudden movement. I think it is a different time, whether we accept it or like it. As some people pointed out, none of these little rules would probably stop someone if their intent was to do harm. It’s all suckage!! It makes me want to go to the one room classroom on the farm.

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  11. I’m all for common sense. I’m for rules that reflect this common sense and keep our kids safe(r). But the reality (and the need!) for affection is far greater than the safety of coralling students and parents to different areas for the notion of ease.
    I would have been the one honking my horn — a la Desperate Housewives.
    I’m so glad to hear the girl was found safe.

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    1. Tania, sorry it’s taking me a while to return comments. It’s just the time of year. I’m sure you can relate! I do feel the parents are like a herd of cattle, you describe it well. It’s all a false pretense, because I don’t feel any safer because of these little changes which probably cost a lot of money! I guess it makes people feel better.

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  12. how we live in fear and spend on many things that don’t really protect us. I sometimes wonder if we aren’t in the “do something” mode.

    Kisses for the little-ones work both ways ( good for child and mom ) 🙂

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    1. It does kind of feel like we live in fear or just a series of superficial fixes. For the most part, I don’t think they change anything all that much.

      So, yeah, the kisses are important, and definitely work both ways…probably more for me. Just today my son said he wanted to walk without me! See, my days are really numbered.

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  13. Wow… you know, I don’t have children… but… wow… I can’t even imagine how unbelievably awful a situation like that would be! I mean… there just aren’t words for that sort of thing!!! And now that I know there is a happy ending I can shout ‘Marco’ after hearing ‘Polo’, too! I mean, it wouldn’t have seemed appropriate before, but now… well, now I just can’t help myself! Because I’m very sophisticated like that! 🙂

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    1. Sometimes it’s good to fashionably late, Robert. You spared all the possible sad feelings. You’re absolutely right. There are no words for this sort of thing. I’m glad there’s no need for them with a happy ending to share. Marco Polo, one of my favorites!

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  14. I can see why they would want to increase security, but it seems that school administrators go overboard sometimes. I think it would be stressful to have work in that situation, with so many rules and regulations.
    I’m glad to read in your next post that the teen was found okay.

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  15. It’s not that the olden days were safer,we were just naive. Our school is now locked down . You have to get buzzed in. I kiss him before he boards the bus. The bullies on there worry me more than anything. And sometimes Amy, he still holds my hand.

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    1. Oh, that’s sweet Shalagh. My son is on the fence. Sometimes my son wants to go solo, other times not. It sounds like your school is very strict. We don’t have to be buzzed in. It’s actually still very accessible, which is why all these rules probably don’t make a difference. I do feel the olden days were safer, but we may have just been more naive like you said. I don’t remember any parents around in the olden days. Everyone just walked to school on their own, with their big brothers and sisters.

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