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Because, what if it happens again? What if the hallways are full of children and you can smell the fear in the air as we run? Because nobody will be walking. The teachers told us to run now. Forget order over safety. How disturbing is it to hear that for the students? Because we know that we need to cut the shit, nobody will be walking if we don’t run.

What if there’s nothing we can do? What if it’s one of our own, and warriors are left fighting for their lives instead of the state championship? What if we hold the door for them to turn on us? What if there’s more than one of them, and there’s no longer safety in numbers? What if they get onto the roof, and blood and bullets water the grass? What if they come during lunch when it’s sunny, and three hundred students are outside enjoying the sun, and not paying attention?

What if there is no safe wall? What if the announcement comes on while we’re changing classes, and nobody hears the PA? What if not enough people hear? What if there’s not enough rooms nearby? What do you do when the doors and windows are staggered? What happens if the forty-year-old blinds jam? What if were are faced with the reality that a glitter-covered poster can’t stop a bullet? What if we have to move the filing cabinet and the bookshelf and the ancient pink couch to barricade the door with the key that has been lost over the course of forty years? What if the multimillion dollar renovations leave freshmen hiding on the floor below broken windows while history is made instead of taught?

What if the teachers have to make good on their promises? What if someone does come in? Will we all throw our shoes like we’ve been told, battered Converse and strappy sandals and fresh new sneakers hurled in the direction of the door? Will she actually throw diluted lab acids in their eyes? Will they even need their eyes to shoot? Will award-winning yearbooks be enough to hurt? Would they actually do impossibly more for us? Would they leave us all in their debt for the rest of our lives?

Because what if it happens again, and we aren’t ready, despite everything we’ve tried to do? Will leaving the school where we’re supposed to be safe be enough to remind people what if? What if nowhere becomes safe?


note: I wrote this between the parkland shooting and the walkout. Just decided to post it. My teachers talked about it almost non-stop in classes the week after. We have new rules because of it. It’s created way too many alternate pathways for what could happen.

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