See, today's the 20th anniversary of the shooting rampage at Winnetka's Hubbard Woods Elementary. Laurie Dann, 30 and carrying serious psychological damage, walked into a 2nd grade classroom about 10:30am and started shooting, killing 8 year old Nicholas Corwin and wounding 5 others. Fleeing the scene, she attempted to take hostages in a nearby house, wounding a UIUC student home for the summer before committing suicide.
At the time, I was in 8th grade at Wood Oaks, 9 miles away. When word got out, as slowly as it did in those days, we were out on the playground during lunch recess. The school hauled us all in early, locked all the doors, and crammed us in the multi-purpose room where we ate lunch. (No exterior doors, and no windows.) They told us nothing, absolutely nothing. I hate that kind of treatment, so convinced someone to let me use the bathroom, and took advantage of being let out of the room to stop at my locker and get my Walkman. WBBM filled me in on what the staff was withholding. Okay, this crazy woman was out somewhere, God only knew where, so everybody was locking down just in case she was running around shooting up schools. Nobody knew who she was or what her motives were, so this was the safe thing to do. Considering it was almost ten years before the rash of high school shootings that would provoke deeper, more serious thought to school safety, they did almost exactly what they should have done. The only place I think they slipped was they should have escorted us to the bathrooms in small groups, and kept watch in the hallways.
In the weeks following, they declared they would keep all the exterior doors locked. Lunch staff and teachers would have to manually let us back in after gym and lunch, and visitors would have to ring a doorbell to be let in by the secretaries. That didn't last long. They soon went back to leaving the same doors unlocked the way they used to. Hell, even Columbine only changed so much. It's only now that Glenbrook North is building a secure visitor entrance.
And in other flashback news, Cathy Crowell Webb died of breast cancer. Webb's 1985 recantation of her '77 rape accusation, led to Gary Dotson's release from prison, he became one of the first people to be exonerated from an old charge based on DNA testing of evidence. The Sun-Times article goes into a bit more depth. She moved to New Hampshire, taught school, raised four children, and fought cancer for six years before dying peacefully in her sleep. She did a brave thing, she did the right thing, she took a lot of heat for it, and managed to get past it to live a fine life.
And for some reason, Steve Dahl can't play his song about it on the air anymore...