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Lockdown Drills with IBD

We live in a much scarier world now than ever before. I don’t need to go into the reasons why because unless you live under a rock (which I have thought about to escape the craziness of the world), you know what I am referring to.

There is something I can’t get out of my head that I wanted to share with you. When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to school with a picc line and also a drain that was connected to a bunch of the abscesses I had. Needless to say, it wasn’t fun going to school like that but it was better for me to stay connected to my friends and remember there was a life outside of illness.

After the events of September 11, 2001, most of the schools in my area had major lockdown drills.

My school was about a half an hour away from NYC also which I think made people a little more on edge. I know I was.

We were taught what to do in case of a lockdown situation, how to handle it, what not to do, and so on. The school also mandated we had numerous, random drills just in case. It was scary but I also knew they were just to be on the safe side.

They weren’t real.

Until one day, one of my favorite teachers was in the hallway and all of a sudden shoved me into another classroom. I heard lots of announcements and sirens and all sorts of things that screamed “I wonder if this isn’t a drill this time.”

After about an hour, it was announced that there was a call made to a local cable channel in the area that stated they were going to come to my school and “wreak havoc.” Teachers also impressed upon us the importance of laying very low in the classroom (almost laying down), with the lights off, and the doors locked. No one was to get in or out – UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

I was very far from being in remission at this time and had to use the bathroom very urgently.

I told the teacher I was with and she let it go for a bit but when I kept saying it, she pushed some button that allowed her to communicate with the main office and told her what was going on. About ten minutes later, there was a policewoman at the door of my classroom who knocked. It took a few minutes to even let her in as my teacher was told not to allow anyone in… period. She had to reach out once again to the main office to make sure this woman was, in fact, a police officer that the school knew about.

Meanwhile, I was praying I wouldn’t go to the bathroom in my pants all this time.

The main office told my teacher that this woman was who she said she was. The door was opened (and immediately locked behind me) and she escorted me to the bathroom. She even went in there with me and locked the doors so no one else could enter.

Once I was finished, she (and several other male police officers) escorted me to the main office where there was a bathroom right inside. Her superiors told her to not allow me to enter the classroom again in case I should need the restroom.

They felt it was putting everyone’s safety at risk… which I understood.

The reason I am sharing this with you is because of how important it is that all teachers and administrators in a school KNOW when someone is suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. If you are a caregiver of a child with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, please make sure every single teacher and person that child may come in contact with knows about some of the special requirements needed.

If my mom didn’t alert everyone who needed to know about my situation, they would have never allowed me out of that room. And I would have had an accident in front of about 30 other students.

I do want to add that it was a stupid prank being pulled and there was no active shooter at my school. Thankfully. But in this day and age, it is so unfortunate that we even have to think about these things.

However, we do.

We have to be smart.

So whether you are a parent, a child in school, or someone in the workforce, please understand how important it is that you are upfront and honest about your disease. I am not telling you to scream to the whole world what is going on but let them know. It can be confidential if needed but it needs to be said.

I know living with an unpredictable chronic, invisible illness is difficult enough but when you layer on all of the outside negative forces, it can become very insurmountable. I wish I didn’t have to even think about this. I wish none of us did. But, alas, we do.

Be sure to protect yourself as best you can.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    Ugh, I can’t imagine going through this while in school. I know for sure the anxiety of a drill happening in the middle of class would definitely bring on symptoms. Thankfully your mom did amazing in letting the school know in advance so that they could accommodate. I think it is so important for parents to let schools know that their child has IBD, this is a great example as to why.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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