I grew up in North Carolina. So even though the earthquake today was the first one I’ve ever experienced, I remember doing earthquake drills in school. Every year in N.C. the schoolchildren do earthquake drills at least once each year. So I know they are done here. My daughter has confirmed that they’ve already done a drill this year only one month into the new school year.
When the earthquake happened today, I had no idea what was happening. I was at home with my two younger children and suddenly heard and felt the ground vibrating. I ran to the front door, expecting to see something huge in the yard. A truck? A plane? I couldn’t imagine what could be that loud and cause that many vibrations, but expected something.
But then it stopped.
I came back in to check the news and learned that I’d just experienced my first earthquake. There wasn’t any damage to the house, but it was clearly a strong quake and it was pretty unnerving. I immediately started worrying about my older daughter at school. I had no way of knowing if there was damage to her classroom, if anyone was hurt, or if the kids were scared. I checked the school’s website, my emails and voicemails, but there was no news from the school.
I got the younger kids in the car and we headed over to the school. From the outside, everything seemed fine. There were no kids outside, no fire trucks or police. I reassured myself that everything was fine and circled around to get into the carpool line.
I must say that I was so relieved to see my daughter standing outside with the carpool kids. I finally knew that she was fine. I realized that the school had competent teachers and staff who all knew what to do in case of an earthquake. They took care of our children today and I was thankful for that.
So when I asked my daughter about the earthquake, I was shocked to hear what actually happened.
When it started, the teacher told the kids to stay at their desks and keep working.
Then she left the room. She. Left. The. Room.
When she came back a few minutes later, she sat down at her desk and began looking things up on her laptop. The kids were eventually told that there had been an earthquake and were told to go on to their next classes.
What happened to the earthquake drills? Why would the teacher LEAVE the children to find out what was going on? At the very least, have the children get onto the floor against the wall. Have another adult stay to help them if the teacher has to leave. Even though we later learned that the earthquake was centered in Virginia and that everyone here is OK, we didn’t know that at the time.
And while I’m here making these crazy helicopter mom requests, why not a quick email to all of the worried parents letting us know that our children are all fine?
I’m so thankful that we only get a big quake every few decades here on the East Coast.
Because the people caring for my sweet, precious daughter aren’t prepared.