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Fox News
Fox News
21 Apr 2023


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Today we had lockdown drill.

That was the first thing my freckled faced, ponytailed 6-year-old, Annie, told me when she got in the Subaru at pick-up. 

I felt my stomach drop but forced myself to pull it together. My brain knows logically this was going to happen, and should happen, to prepare in case my worst nightmare was to happen. Like a fire drill. Or an earthquake drill. Just one more drill, right? 

Memorials for the six victims who were killed in a mass shooting are placed outside of The Covenant School

Memorials outside the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, for the six victims who were killed in a mass shooting there on March 27, 2023. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

My heart and stomach were not ready, apparently, to hear my little daring talk about it, and definitely not ready to see the concern in her green eyes. Instead of starting to cry or letting all my fear burst forth, I let Anne lead the conversation. While I continued to fight the lump in my throat, I remained calm and relatively collected and positive on the outside. 

COLORADO PARENTS ASKED TO STEP IN, GUARD MIDDLE SCHOOL AFTER NEARBY SHOOTINGS

I had surprised her with a strawberry slushie to celebrate the first day we had hit 80 degrees (!!!) and so we sat, drinking slushies, and I let her talk. I looked her in the eyes and rubbed her petite shoulders while she poured it all out. She talked and talked about the drill, recalling every detail. She adores her teacher and principal and is in the thick of that sponge phase, and I could tell she was giving me verbatim what she had been taught that day.  

You have to hide in your safest place where you think the bad guys won’t see you.

First, we hid in the corner and then the second time some of us were in the bathroom and some behind the teacher’s desk. 

It was a little scary, because we had to be as quiet as possible and didn’t know at first if it was for real or not. 

Memorials for the six victims who were killed in a mass shooting are placed outside of The Covenant School

The six victims of the shooting at the Covenant School, three adults and three children, are remembered on March 30, 2023, in Nashville. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

I hate that my daughter, at 6 years old, is having to even entertain the thought of a "bad guy" entering her school. I hate that she must hear that there are panic buttons and extra cameras just in case a bad guy gets in the school and tries to "hurt her friends."

I hate that in my beautiful state of Tennessee, we saw tragedy strike too close to home when an armed intruder broke into the Covenant School, in a gorgeous part of Nashville where I lived for years, resulting in the senseless deaths of grownups and children. 

HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING: HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT US GUN VIOLENCE IN THE NEWS

One of the teachers was on the playground with her class, and when she heard the gunshots she didn’t hesitate. She immediately and calmly took her students to hide in the woods, using quick thinking to explain they were "going on a bear hunt." 

My thoughts go to that teacher often, knowing she had woken up that morning, maybe drank her coffee, and walked in the school she adored to teach children she loved dearly. What went through her head when she heard the unthinkable was happening? Did she pray for protection as she went above and beyond to protect her class? 

Annie’s precious teacher took an anxiety-inducing drill and brought some levity, not only assuring them she would jump in front of any bad guy but also adding in she was going to "set a trap to trick the bad guys by the window." Their class was the quietest, so they were awarded with jelly beans and high praise from their principal, who assured them they were doing this drill to be extra prepared. 

As I managed a smile, Annie added, It was a little scary, Mommy, but you know I said a prayer in my head, and I know God heard me. 

There are so many things I don’t understand, and I surely don’t understand the darkness of this world, but in that moment I knew my highest calling was and is to remind Annie of this truth.

No matter how bad the bad guys are, God is always good.

A police officer hugs a mourner outside of the Covenant School in Nashville.

A police officer comforts a mourner outside the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

There are a lot of people who would rather fight than love, who prefer to knock others down instead of build them up. There are people who are hurting who choose to do bad things, and we may never know why. There are so many good people in this world but sadly there are also people who do some bad things for reasons we don’t understand.

I will continue to call and write to my state representatives and sign petitions until I’m blue in the face. I will continue to champion better mental health services and health care and yes, higher pay for educators who already have tough jobs. I will continue to do all I can to ensure I’m not raising my two children in a war zone disguised as the United States of America. I will continue to cry in the shower and process all of this in therapy and with other moms over coffee after school drop-off. 

But first, I will comfort and embrace my precious 6 year old. I will remind her that God is much, much bigger than the hate and evil, and He has overcome it all with His love and light. I will make sure she knows she is loved deeply for who she is, and we are doing all we can to make her world safer. After all, our children are the future, and I pray they grow up to see the day when lockdown drills are no longer necessary.

Katie Powell Bell is a follower of Jesus, wife, mom of two, vice president of publicity at EPIC and writer, when she finds the time. She lives with her family in a sweet small town in the heart of Tennessee.