10:11 AM | May 25th

June 03, 2018
I’m sure most people have heard what happened on May, 25th 2018. If you don’t, look it up. It’s pretty easy to find. It’s not uncommon to hear about it anymore in America, but for the basics, it was a male student who had a gun and fired it off the school. That’s the basics for any school shooting taken place. 

The reason I chose to write this was that I needed a better way of explaining to my family about what happened. I am comfortable enough to share what I witnessed. I'm not making this situation about me at all. It is not about just me. It's about everyone who is affected by this without even being in that classroom. 

I’ll go into some background real quick. I attended that middle school from 5th grade to 8th. It’s only about 10 or fewer minutes from my house. I’m now a graduated senior from the high school in the same town. My little sister is an incoming sophomore at the same high school. 

It was any regular school day except my sister told me she wasn’t feeling good and I let her sleep in while I went to class. My first class went by normally but then going to my 2nd class was when rumors started.

A code yellow was called about 2 minutes before my 2nd class started. Code yellow means that no one could enter the building and we would remain on a regular schedule. 

I watched one of the assistant principals run past me to check the doors down the hall. I didn’t think anything of it because a code yellow wasn’t the worst thing to happen. 

I sat at my desk and was going to start on my final year project for that class. There was a lot of whispering on the other side of the room which I assumed was about the code yellow until someone asked what the other table was whisperings about.

“There’s a rumor that possibly there’s a school shooter at west.” One of my classmates said out loud to the entire class.

Instantly, I watched peoples faces go blank. Most of my classmates are people I attended that same middle school with. We had classes together before, and we all were pretty friendly. 

My teacher tried to calm us down by saying it’s just a rumor right now and not to confirm anything. Two of my classmates were on their phones trying to call their siblings at the middle school. No one could do their work at that moment. It was only about 9:20 am. 

“Nope, it’s on the news.” Another male classmate said loudly mostly to his table, but we all could hear him.

The intercom came on and said we were on a code orange which means we couldn’t leave our classroom until we were told to. 

Tense is the only thing I could describe the atmosphere in the room. I started to look up my town name and kept refreshing every minute to see if some article pops up. Nothing was coming up, but I kept trying. There was no way I could do anything until we found out what was going on.

“It’s confirmed.” A girl who sat with me in last period said. “My aunt works with the police, and she says it’s true.”

It's just one of those moments when your stomach drops and you just paused in shock. Everything seemed to be moving so fast but so slow at the same time. My partner for our group project wasn’t saying anything, but honestly, I didn’t want to hear her. I never wanted to listen to her again. 

I was in my own world, sucked into just refreshing my web browser to see any news which wasn’t coming up. My mind couldn’t focus on anything else but try to find an article. 

The only thing that broke me away was whimpering from the front of the class. I looked up to see one of the classmates in tears. He had his hands covering his red face, and he was shaking. I had never seen him like that before and wouldn’t have expected that from One of the schools best wrestlers. The boy that told us about the rumor was trying to comfort him and telling him it’s okay. We all attended that middle school together, and we all knew that students had to keep their phones in their lockers before class. 

The table right next to me was figuring out what was going on. Three of them attended that middle school, and only one had gone to a different school.

“He’s not answering.” My old best friend from 8th grade leaned back in her chair with her phone dangling in her hand. I knew her younger brother was at the middle school. She called her mom, and I could hear her mom screaming on the other line with words I couldn't make out. 

People were contacting their parents telling them that we are okay. I couldn’t reach my mom or dad because I didn’t have service. I just kept looking for a news article. 

The first article finally popped up. The title was exactly what we had feared. It was real, and it was happening in our small town. 

The article had shown times they had updated the public with the events.  The one time I remember clearly was 10:11 AM when it was reported the shooter had been captured and detained in handcuffs. Later I found out that the actual 911 call came in around 9:06 and that kid was in handcuffs no more than 15 minutes later. 

Heres where the time gets foggy for me. I don't remember the exact time, but I remember the exact strained, and out of breath voice of the assistant principal said we were on a code red. 

In an instant, the lights were shut off, chairs and desks were being pushed together by the door, and all of us went into the corners of the room huddling closer than we would've ever thought. People were hugging and trying to calm each other down. I grabbed a girls jacket and tried to console her while her friend held her hand. 

But even though being in the dark, not knowing yet why a code red was called, I wasn't scared. I was scared of the fact that I really needed to use the restroom at such an inconvenient time. Probably something that you wouldn't think about during such an intense moment but having bladder problems, it was a big deal. 

It became sort of some kind of comedic relief for the people around me. It was something they could giggle about and forget for one second how stressed they were. 

The time passed for 10:42 and we all checked our phones seeing that the dismissal bells had been turned off. I still was trying to distract myself from the urge to use the restroom, but it wasn't working. 

Panic is a small word to describe how I reacted to my bladder situation. I started telling the people beside me that I couldn't hold it in anymore and that I was in pain. They all still snickered although they knew I wasn't kidding about not being able to hold it in. I started sobbing uncontrollably, and now I was one of the inconsolable. 

Someone had finally gotten my teachers attention, and I told them I needed to use the bathroom. He looked around quickly for something I could use then he said he didn't know how to help me exactly. That wasn't a big deal to me because I had previously made my mind up about what I was going to do.  I was going to pee my pants and deal with the outcomes later. 

I didn't want to relieve myself into the red bucket designed for uncontrollable accidents. I thought someone else might throw up and I didn't want the others who didn't know I was peeing myself to hear so I asked if I could use a water bottle from the trash. I asked the girl next to me to trade me places, so I at least had a proper corner to use. 

I will forever be grateful for one of the girls who gave me her half empty water bottle and her shirt to cover myself. Even though I still was sobbing and cramping up, I thanked her. 

"Don't pee on me." The girl who traded me spots passed an almost empty roll of paper towel to me.

"Okay," I said knowing there was no way I could control if I pissed on anyone or not. 

I took in a deep breath and took off my shorts. I felt terrible for the people around me but felt worse for the janitors who might have to take extra time on cleaning my accident. 

Being a girl, I don't have the blessing of being able to aim so even though I had the water bottle positioned, and only a little bit got in. I felt it go onto my feet and on my hand but mostly my underwear. I still was so nervous that just a little bit would come out for a long time. 

"Are you really still peeing?" the girl who I had tried to comfort earlier asked.

"I'm sorry," I said softly. 

Time passed, and finally, the intercom came back on and said we were back to a code yellow. Sighs of relief were heard all around the room and also the sound of me struggling to get my shorts on fast enough before the lights turned on. Only a little bit of my waste had gotten on my shorts which made it sort of look like I sat in water but anyone with common sense would definitely be able to tell I peed myself. 

I was still teary-eyed when girls were trying to tell me it was okay and no one was making a big deal about it besides me. Another girl gave me a pair of extra shorts for me to change in and said they had underwear built in. I thanked her and quickly ran into the hall where my teacher was dismissing us two at a time for restroom breaks. We never got the restroom break though. A SWAT team member with his gun elevated at us asked what we were doing and then told us we needed to stay in our class. The second time we were dismissed we were told to walk to the office with our hands up thinking we were being checked out to go home. That didn't happen either. I slipped into the nurse station right next to the office. 

"Can I use your restroom, I sorta peed myself," I told the first three people I saw. 

"Oh, you poor thing, do you have-" The nurse began to ask.

"Yes, I have shorts," I answered her and got into the bathroom. 

I finished what I began in the classroom with no problems. I got service on my phone and texted my parents, my boyfriend, and my sister. I didn't wait to see if they replied because I wanted to get out of this place.

The nurse gave me a plastic bag to put my wet clothing in and kept telling me it was a stressful time and it's okay that I couldn't hold it in. I just smiled and walked out of the nurse's station just to run into a different heavily armed SWAT team member who kept questioning me what I was doing and why was I out of class.

"I just needed to change," I said trying to keep my voice calm. 

"Where is your classroom?" He asked.

"Just down the hall."

"How far down the hall?"

"Like it's right next to the classroom in front of us."

He was about to say something, but my teacher showed up to check on me at just the right time. I stopped listening to the SWAT guy and made my way back to class.

"It's a stressful moment." My teacher put his hand on my shoulder.

"I just have really bad bladder problems, I'm sorry." I gave a shaky laugh.

"No, I understand it's fine." My teacher said. 

For the rest of the time, we watched The Office as a class. I asked my friend if she could turn on her hotspot so I could call my mom. My mom wasn't freaking out, but she wanted me to come home as fast as I could.

We were in that class from 9:12 AM to around 1:15 PM when they released everyone who drove to school. The principal was yelling at us not to stand around and run to our cars. I have never seen so many police officers and other authorities at one place.  You couldn't look around and not see one person in a uniform. 

That was the end of the physical fear for me, but the mental horror wasn't going to go away for a long time. 

I watched the news for days to see videos of the scene at the middle school, the interviews of students and parents and the bullshit apologies from adults who were reading off of notecards. 

Bullets injured only two people. No one else was shot because of a teacher who took three bullets before disarming the shooter. That teacher saved so much heartbreak and trauma because he sacrificed himself. There's no way to repay him for what he did. 

I realized why I had so much anger after I left that class. I wasn't angry at anyone. I was mad at myself for being so weak and helpless. I was continually crying every day because I felt so guilty. 

Writing this now my hands are still shaky, and I feel myself breaking down. I will never be able to forgive myself for not doing something I should've done that day.

I didn't protect my little sister that day. I couldn't protect her. I promised I would do anything to make sure she was safe when we were not at home. I failed her as a protector that day. I broke my promise to her. Even though she had stayed home, I almost dragged her to school that morning, and I can't forgive myself. 

Hearing that code red, my first impulse was to run out of the room and find her. I don't care for my safety; I only need her to be safe. That's MY baby sister, and it is MY responsibility to make sure she is protected. I'm not going to be with her the next school year so who's going to watch after her now? 

I shouldn't be afraid for her going to school. I shouldn't be feeling ill every time I think about not being there for her. No one should feel this way. No one should be experiencing what happened to us, but it continues to happen. Children are begging for help and getting killed in the process.

There is no easy answer for how to stop this epidemic that has cursed the united states. There is not just one single problem. It keeps on happening, and nothing is being done. There is no change, and unfortunately, there will not be progress until the people who do have the power to change this start doing their jobs. Children should not continue to die. We should not be afraid anymore. 

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