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I am the parent of two children in the fourth grade at Arthur Middleton Elementary. Skylar is 11 and Landon is 9. Like most parents around the world on the awful day of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, I sat glued to my television and waited anxiously for my children to get home from school.

As soon as both arrived safely, I sat them down and we had a frank discussion about the events of the day. I am not a parent who shelters her children to the point of ignorant bliss. I am honest because I believe they are best served when they are educated about the true world we live in.

I was relieved when my son responded to my instructions about what to do during an event like this. He said, ďMom, thatís a code red, and we have had drills on this before. That means an intruder is in the building.Ē He then proceeded to go through the paces of what theyíre supposed to do.

To say I was pleased about the schools proactive drills would be an understatement. This made my job and our discussion go a lot easier than I had originally thought it would be. I simply reiterated about the drills and added that they needed to get down quickly and be as quiet as possible. I told them to hide, make themselves as invisible as possible and to pray quietly to themselves. These things are easy for an able-bodied, quick-on-his-feet child.

Skylar is unable to do this. She was born with spina bifida, and this means that she is just like any other child except she canít run a marathon like the others. It will be hard for her to get down quickly and be stealthy. She is by no means quick in a pinch. She might not have had a chance in the world had this happened at her school. I pray that the Lord dispatches angels to deliver her to the safety thatís needed should a hairy situation unfold.

Just like she has special needs, there are many other children in our schools who are vulnerable. Some canít walk, think quickly, or even have the mental capacity to understand the emergency unfolding before them. They are all equally deserving of defense. I would argue that they could be seen as more deserving due to their faculties being compromised.

This brings me to today. It gave my spirit further rest when I received an email message to all the parents about Superintendent Jim Richmond and Sheriff Rex Coffey being on top of the security measures. I felt even better after reading the article in the Maryland Independent on Dec. 19.

It is nice to know that the powers that be are being proactive. Iím sure I am in the minority here but actually advocate having some sort of well-trained armed personnel at the school that could be between the students and a psycho on a mission.

Sheriff Coffey, it would be impossible for your wonderful officers to always be there and ready. The Newtown incident has made that perfectly clear. I am, for the moment though, happy that he has created a soft presence and has officers staged in the areas of the schools.

On behalf of all the parents of special-needs children in Charles County, I implore you to please remember all of our most vulnerable when making tweaks to our security measures and plans. They tend to fly under the radar and can easily be forgotten.

In closing, it truly saddens me to know that the children of today have to face such issues and such needs for preparedness. I never had these worries when I was in school. It must be extremely hard for them to be able to concentrate on their studies when they have the need to worry to about psychos coming through the door. This is, however, the world we live in today, forever changing, for better and worse.

Faye A. Weekly, Waldorf