Colorful Construction Paper

Evan Farley, ‘20

Colorful construction paper sits on the back of every door in school waiting to be used. The paper is taped to other pieces depending on how big the window in the door is, large enough to cover it all. Velcro is attached to the perimeter of the window, matching strips of velcro on the paper. It blends in with the classroom, almost like it's not there. But it sits on the door as a constant reminder of what could happen.

In the height of the cold war, students were taught to duck and cover in the event of a nuclear attack. They were taught to dive under the wooden desk with their hands over their neck as if that would protect them from the destruction of an atomic bomb. It was an omnipresent threat for decades that young Americans just had to accept.

Today another threat looms over students. The school building offers no real protection, but then again it is just as safe as a nightclub or bank or a place of worship. Although the damage is much less than that of a nuclear attack, it is much more real.

The loudspeakers are not used for morning announcements but are ready for the two words that send a wave of terror across students, staff, and faculty. People might joke around during fire drills, but not here, not now. The colorful construction paper covers the windows that are lined with wire so no one can see the huddled students in the dark classroom. The building, a vibrant hive of activity just moments ago goes silent.

The colorful construction paper is not kevlar but a constant reminder that we are not safe.