Summary: I’m drawing out eight lessons from a lockdown as a result of what happened at our local high school when weapons were discovered.
The Certainty of No Separation: Lessons from a Lockdown
Rev. Brian Bill
Pontiac made not only the national headlines this week, we even became international news. We could have been named in the same sentence as Columbine or Virginia Tech but thankfully a tragedy was averted. It was a close call but it was also a wake-up call. But if past events are any indication the wake-up will be short-lived.
As you know by now, Pontiac Township High School was on a lockdown for three and a half hours this past Tuesday morning as a result of officials finding six handguns on campus. Because this has rocked our community I want to focus on some “Lessons from a Lockdown” so that we don’t miss what God wants to teach us.
Note: Because information on this incident is in “flux,” my purpose is to focus on what we can learn – not to discuss the specific details of what happened. I’ll leave that to the proper authorities.
We’re starting with the message and then we’ll praise God through song. We’ll end our morning by spending time around the table.
1. Living in a small town doesn’t mean you are safe. I heard one person say, “So much for innocence in Pontiac.” Several have said something like this: “I never thought this could happen here.” This incident has taught us that whether you live in Pontiac or in a surrounding community, our problems are very real – and sometimes very raw. On Tuesday, when information was still hard to come by, our youngest daughter Megan, when referring to Lydia, who is in high school, said this: “Lydia might not have come home today.” We are not insulated, and certainly not isolated, from those things that plague larger communities. Why is that? Because as we have learned in Romans 3:12: “…There is no one who does good, not even one.” While this is a good community, we also live in a sin-soaked society.
As I attended the various briefings, press conferences and parent meetings, I found within myself a strong tie to this community. To say it another way, I’m proud to live in Livingston County and Pontiac in particular. This community has pulled together when we could have fallen apart. It remains to be seen how we will move forward from this but I’m optimistic about the opportunity. During the parent meeting on Wednesday night at the high school one parent raised his hand and said something like this: “If you’re looking for volunteers to serve as hall monitors, put me on the top of the list.”
2. One person can make a difference. The student who had the courage to do what was right and tell the Resource Officer that he had observed some guns deserves to be commended. He is a hero. He did what was right, not what was easy. My other hero in this incident is Officer Bill Reynolds who responded immediately by instituting a “Code Red.” Because Bill has spent time beforehand building relationships with the students, this young man felt comfortable coming to him.
Along with Officer Reynolds, I was impressed with Chief Dale Newsome and the other officers who responded to this incident. They would tell you that they just did what they were trained to do but I think we need to thank every officer we see. I’m serious about this. When you see an officer this week I encourage you to greet him or her and say, “I attend Pontiac Bible Church and I just want to say thanks for what you do.”
I am also very grateful for Superintendent Leo Johnson, Principal Jon Kilgore and LAVC Director Amy Smith for the way they handled the situation. The teachers provided stability and safety for our students in their classrooms and continue to shepherd them through this (Please stand if you are a teacher or on staff at any school – this would include home school parents as well). I’m also thankful for our local media as they worked diligently to get the right information out as quickly as possible.
And I’m extremely grateful for the caliber of the clergy in this community. There were over 10 pastors outside the school on Tuesday morning, mingling with parents. Pontiac Bible Church and First Lutheran Church provided lemonade and water. On Wednesday morning, around 15 pastors were available to meet with students on campus. This was an amazing opportunity to provide prayer and a listening ear for students and staff.
Friend, don’t ever think that you don’t matter. Speak up. Stand up. Step up. The message of Mordecai to Esther in Esther 4:14 is true for each of us: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” You are where you are for a purpose.