The Safety Committee meets once a month
to discuss who will enter the building
to look for survivors after a major earthquake.
What’s the protocol going to be, since we
have to assume fire and rescue may not
be able to arrive for hours.

We also know if ever there is an active shooter,
the police have detailed maps on their computers
of every school in the district. Every entrance
and door is assigned a number
to help coordinate a response.
Best case scenario, it may take five minutes
for help to arrive and “neutralize” an intruder.

During the most recent drill,
my students were startled
when campus security
twisted the handle
and beat violently
on the locked door.

A boy hid underneath my big desk,
another squeezed himself
into the bottom shelf
of an empty book case.

Everyone else sat on the floor,
below the level of the curtained windows,
knowing like prayers and condolences
always mentioned on the news,
this is a pathetic way to live.