the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Phones, lockdowns, MNPS

A couple of weeks back my 10 year old was excited to go to her first school dance. She’s in middle school now and was excited to do this and wanted us to pick her up at 7 when the dance ended. I got a call at 6pm from an unknown number that strangely my phone didn’t attempt to screen. On the second call from them I answered and it was the father of one of her friends saying she wanted to be picked up.

He handed the phone to her and she told me that the dance was scary and she wasn’t having any fun and seemed about to cry. I hauled butt in that direction and got to her school to a parking lot filled with parents and nobody knew where the dance was or how to get their kid out.

Another call to the father of her friend and I was given directions and found where the pickup location was. The school had nobody at the entrance where there were a ton of parents waiting, nor a post-it-note that would inform them they were in the wrong place.

Kiddo told me about some inappropriate behavior and that they weren’t playing songs for 5th graders, and overall it seemed mostly like 13 year olds being 13 year olds and trying to act grown up. I wasn’t particulary concerned, I knew what she had encountered, going from a world where a dance party involves playing Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling to a place playing radio edit versions of explicit songs she’s not familiar with.

Got it kid, you’re a little young for that party and what scared her was 11-13 year olds being 13 year olds… whatever… sounds like something I’d have had fun at but I’m not 10.

I decided I would get her a SIM for her phone so that in the event something like this happened again she could call me without having to wait to find someone she knew. I would also be able to track her within 15 feet and be able to basically figure out where she needed to be picked up because she can’t give directions yet.

I got her a SIM through Mint Mobile, $15 a month for 5gb. She’s on Wi-Fi all the time anyway so there’s not going to be a lot of data usage, I wanted phone and enough data for me to locate her… she can use my hotspot.

Oof, at this paragraph I just got a call, I know you can’t tell where I am writing but I’ll reference right here as incident #2.

So I got her a SIM and taught her how to make phone calls. She knew how to Skype, Messenger, etc. I was planning on letting her take it into school on days she has events after in case she wants to leave, and I was going to let her have a little freedom from us waiting around for her.

Her first test was to survive an hour at home while we went to the grocery store. Armed only with a security system, phone, 10 cameras, and her wits she was to survive on the couch watching Netflix. She survived 15 minutes before texting asking when we were coming home because she was bored, but survived.

But she wasn’t taking it it school because there was no reason.

Yesterday a kid flashed a magazine to a gun. It was seen by an adult and a couple of school kids. The school went into a lockdown and 10yo was locked into a classroom with no information for over an hour it sounded like. We got the alert at 1:18 and when I managed to get her at 3pm she said she’d been locked in a classroom with a friend underneath a desk… the friend was underneath the desk so she joined them.

Nobody knew what was going on and when the doors opened kids exited passing a series of heavily armed MNPD officers.

I pulled in about 3:18 because the pickup line and number of parents getting their kids was astounding… she was sitting in front of, and behind, and beside police cars and when she got in the car she said “dad… what the hell happened… people are freaking out and nobody knows anything”

They hadn’t informed anyone that a part of a weapon had been spotted, and then never seen again.

I told her we would send her with her phone in the future and she could just keep it turned off in her backpack or on DND or something in the unlikely event this ever happened again. We didn’t push it the next day (which is today,) because how likely was that to happen again?

Incident #2

9:07am I get a call from MNPS… it’s a school lock-out. School doors are shuttered and police are fortifying the places out of an abundance of caution for something that’s happened. Of course we don’t know what that is.

Wife just shot a text over saying she’s going to be taking it to school from now on. Yup.

Someone phoned in a threat

Some idiot apparently phoned in a threat today.

I would go and just get her out but the school’s on lockout along with two other schools.

Within the space of 10 days there have been three times my kid needed a phone and didn’t have it.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.