Yesterday was scary for students, parents, staff and the entire Downeast Community. Thankfully the lockdown at MDI High School was eventually lifted, and no one was hurt.

I've seen a lot of postings on what happened, what people thought went right and what people thought what went wrong. I wanted to share Wendy Littlefield's posting (with her permission) as she described announcing the lockdown to the school, how she and office staff huddled under their desks and thoughts during the very long afternoon. It's eye opening, and will probably bring a lump in your throat. It did to me, and I was outside at the base of the driveway yesterday.

Remember help the schools get information to you! Be sure they have your cell phone and email so when they do send out information, you can receive it!

Here's her posting

As I sit this morning with my warm cup of tea my mind is still full of what ifs??  My body feels like it has been hit by a truck -  Mostly my mind is full of did I do everything right?  Yesterday was one of the hardest days at our high school, my job for the past 20 plus years.  I had to make the announcement........I have made thousands of announcements!!  I saw the look and heard the voice that told me to put the school on lock down - this wasn't a drill - lock down everyone now.  We were in the middle day - it was a beautiful day and outside our window was 14 kids eating their lunch, I knew that at least 100 of our middle school students were arriving shortly for a sing program.  I went into auto mode.....I tried to calmly to make the announcement we have practiced before - but this time knowing it wasn't a practice this was it - "Attention - At this time we must go into a lockdown, please lock down immediately.  This is not a drill.  At this time the school is on a lockdown.  Took a breathe and said it again - At that moment in time I knew that I had just instilled panic in 536 kids, 94 staff and literally had no other information.  We took an extra minute and threw the window up to yell as those students eating their lunch - "Get in here, lockdown" We put them in our back conference room with another adult and closed them safely in.  Secured our office area and looked around before we were to take our lockdown spots.  By that time we heard a bus full of middle schoolers arrive - what do we do?  We are't supposed to be near the widow or let anyone in - but I couldn't -I couldn't let them walk into the unknown - Went to the window and yelled - Get back on the bus, go back to your school, we are on lock down - The bus immediately closed the door and drove away.  As I was closing the window to run back to my safe spot - I saw the UPS guy load his packages and start walking to the front door - I couldn't let him be out there - I knew him and knew he had a family and a little one - I once again opened the window and yelled to him, get back in your truck and leave campus - we are on lock down - I heard his truck door close and drive away.  By then the phone wouldn't stop ringing - We are supposed to be safe and away from our desks....but all could think of was those parents who got the message - no contact and no information.  I answered the first few calls but I had no information - felt helpless - picked up one more call and it was Bar Harbor dispatch....they needed information - I had none.  Under my desk I sat for the next 30 mins or so with her - providing what information I could. What did I know?  What did I hear?  I heard nothing, silence in a high school at 12:40 - tears started to flow....the phone continued to ring.....and I gave her any update I had - she calmed me and came back to reality and waited for officers to arrive.  We continued talking as she called more help, told me help was on the way and waited.  The phone continued to ring and every time it rang I knew it was another worried parent - I couldn't help them. I felt so helpless.  Then my mind came to my own daughter who was now my coworker and locked down in a room with her high school students and the babies she was responsible for.  My baby was responsible for others babies and I had to let her do her job and I had to do mine!  - soon the driveway filled up with help .  For the next few hours we waited, listened and just supported each other.  To all of our parents who were so frustrated that we didn't answer the phone, we couldn't we were trying to be safe too.  I' sorry. To all the parents who just wanted to get their kiddo - we did the best we could to make sure they were all accounted for and safe.  I'm sorry if you were frustrated with the process but it worked. We live in an amazing community, we work in an amazing school, our staff were rock stars! Our administration and our police force were there for us all- Between the tears, fears and worry we all did our jobs and everyone was safe.  Today I will be grateful that there are not more grieving parents! Today I will put my face to the sun and inhale the cool air.  Tomorrow will be a new day at my job.  Love and virtual hugs to all!!

Counselors are at the school Wednesday, November 2nd from Noon to 2 to meet with students and staff should they wish to talk, and will be available throughout the day on Thursday.

I also wanted to post Heather Dillon's thoughts. She posted this late Tuesday night.

Today at school, I was meant to be creating Athenian and Spartan government models using Play-doh with my students.
Instead, I spent three hours locked in a small, dark room, cowering silently against the wall behind furniture with eleven students and another teacher.
I smiled at the students and gave them thumbs-up signs while I thought about
teachers and students at
Robb Elementary in Uvalde,
Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown,
Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland,
Columbine HS in Columbine,
and the numerous other teachers and students who have senselessly lost their lives while at school.
Were they cowering in silence like I was when the lockdown started?
Did they hear a commotion in the hallway?
When did they hear gunshots?
When did they know their lives were in danger?
Was there any warning? Would I know too?
And then I returned to the moment in the room with the students who needed me now.
Would this bookend be heavy enough to stop an intruder coming into my classroom?
Could I throw that lamp?
How sturdy was that door?
Where would I tell my students to go if we needed to run?
Did I have “quiet” food I could give to the students in my room who had missed lunch and whose stomachs I could hear growling?
What if they had to go to the bathroom - could we use the recycling bin?
But wait.
What about my child? Where were they right now? Were they safe? What class were they in? Did they have their diabetes supplies with them in case this lockdown stretched on and on?
And then the parents - the poor parents who must, by now, know that we were in a lockdown and must have been beside themselves with worry about their own children. How could I reassure them that I was keeping their babies safe? I was doing what I could to protect them - how could I let them know?
When the police finally arrived and evacuated us from the room, I welcomed the light and cool air from the hallway.
I welcomed the armed men and women who guided  us down the hallway to safety on a school bus to another school where parents and the media waited anxiously to see that those they loved arrived safely into their arms.
I thought of the teachers and students at
Robb Elementary in Uvalde,
Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown,
Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland,
Columbine HS in Columbine,
and the numerous other teachers and students who have senselessly lost their lives while at school.
I realized we made it - we were all safe - we did not experience the same tragedy as so many others in our country’s schools.
And for this, I will be forever grateful,
and I know we can’t let a tragedy happen again.

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