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Fire drill–True life story

 

Three of my girls attended a small Saudi school in a neighborhood in Riyadh. This is a story of the first fire drill they tried to implement and how it was handled in a typical Saudi school. 

The girls dropped their backpacks as they entered the villa, warning glances shot between the three as they made their way across the room. A familiar feeling gripped me reminiscent of many school days in the past. I struggled to keep silent knowing that any events that occurred at school were supposed to stay within the confines of that day, place and time. Issues that were daringly brought to light, were then dissected and proper instruction on avoiding further incidents were discussed at length. This process could take days or possibly months and involved potential restrictions on an already guarded freedom.

I greeted them, hugging and holding them close, a signal that meant I knew there had been trouble. They smiled with relief and ran to change out of their uniforms leaving a trail of shoes and hair ties behind them. I watched as they gleefully hopped up the stairs and then back down to sit for their afternoon meal. He must have sensed the tension as well and inquired about their day in an unrelenting fashion until little Soos finally broke down and opened the door for the upcoming inquisition.

Teachers and supervisors scurried through the building waving their arms frantically, girls sobbed uncontrollably making their way down the stairs, tripping and flailing along the way. The school staff yelled out, exclaiming that there was fire everywhere, instructing the young ones to run, pointing to their bodies at make believe flames they brought to life with frenzied voices. Mayhem overtook the facility and the two buildings that surrounded a small courtyard were engulfed in a simulated inferno. Girls whaled as they called out for their siblings, tumbling down stair wells, hurling backpacks and pleading for God’s help from impending doom.  Saleeha and Fattima found each other and searched for little Soos in the pandemonium and disorder. They located her and with no evidence of a fire, stood near the gate, watching in horror as the scene unfolded. Finally the principal spoke into a microphone in an angry and irritated tone, announcing that the first of many fire drills had now been completed.

 

116 Comments Post a comment
  1. How distressing for the girls and so unnecessary!

    Liked by 2 people

    July 10, 2016
    • To be honest I was horrified to send them each and every day Frances! There was always something and this made me so scared. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

      July 10, 2016
  2. Oh Lynn, it is difficult to believe this is the way the conduct their fire drills. Any child would be horrified about this type of ordeal. Thanks for sharing, I find it interesting and in this case upsetting that these types of situations occur. Have a great Sunday. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    July 10, 2016
  3. A traumatic event for the young ones and unnecessary had there been an explanation prior to the fire drill or even an actual calm drill instead of mayhem.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 10, 2016
  4. Heartafire #

    Such a lovely family…awesome!!

    Liked by 2 people

    July 10, 2016
  5. OMG, again sounds like just controlling with fear, unnecessary harassment, and traumas.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  6. What a sad way to learn about, how to handle a fire in school. So happy for all of you to be back in US, dear Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  7. How horrific to traumatize the children that way! I’m so glad you are back where even something like that would never be tolerated.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
    • Thanks so much. School was the worst part of life there! Always worried each time they left for school. Thanks KR

      Liked by 1 person

      July 10, 2016
  8. Absolutely horrifying !!! Seems like they need to be educated on how to actually perform a fire drill !!! (still shaking my head) xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  9. Oh dear..how hard must have been for the kids & harder for the parent….

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  10. This is so shocking, Lynn. It’s hard to comprehend the cruelty in such an act. Those poor kids. I’m almost speechless. What in the world were those adults thinking?

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  11. The whole point of a fire drill is to get an organized response to danger. It seems like they just wanted to create a chaos that would have been deadly in the real life experience of a fire.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  12. Dear Lynn. What a blessing to your kids for you to be able to validate – “yeah, that was crazy and scary.” You are amazing and so loving. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  13. Oh your poor girls to be involved with such senseless mayhem. Another slice of your life that leaves me speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  14. How awful 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  15. It does seem to have been a particularly sadistic regime and not in the slightest bit justified in being that way. That your girls have come through so balanced and unaffected really must be a testiment to your mothering skills and the way you glued your family together so that they were able to support each other fully and wholeheartedly. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    July 10, 2016
  16. It reminds me of my year with ADEC and the mayhem of the lunch patrol. The children were allowed to run around and the foreign teachers…we were at a loss trying to control. No help from Administration. That is why my previous post, I was relieved to find another blog which validated that scenario from a teacher who arrived with her 2 children and left after 3 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  17. How many little children must have gone home traumatized that day, and the following days. How horrid.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  18. Typical…

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  19. You’d think they would discuss how to react during fire drill BEFORE experimenting with one! Sounds like the administration were clueless…but your girls handled it with true style! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  20. Sounds like the administrators couldn’t have managed a real fire. Scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
    • It was so scary and that is the basic fear we lived with that lead me to finally take them out of school. Thanks so much for reading xxc

      Like

      July 10, 2016
  21. How can they do this! Little children, they could be extremely terrified and even an accident could have occurred… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  22. Sounds like a farce. What kind of drill was that?

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  23. Oh My!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 10, 2016
  24. Cultural? Madness? Questions I always have when you recount your ordeals.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
    • I honestly dont know! It was always worrisome sending them off to school! After 12 years of it I rebelled and took them out!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 11, 2016
      • I just don’t know how you managed

        Liked by 1 person

        July 11, 2016
        • To be honest I spend allot of time feeling foolish and am just now able to write some of these events. My kids say they wouldnt change things because it made them stronger but still insecurities can stick with you. I am a pretty worried and nervous person to be honest, always on guard. So it has many long lasting effects. Thanks so much for always reading, its hard to say my kids went through this daily so input helps! X

          Liked by 1 person

          July 11, 2016
  25. So stupid of the teacher not to explain the purpose of the fire drill. I worked on the 11th floor of a high rise and there was a fire drill once a month. Well, walking down 11 flights of stairs is great exercise, I found. Some people grumbled and complained not realizing the importance of the fire drill. We were informed in advance that the fire drill was going to occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  26. That’s definitely not the way to do a fire drill causing panic and distress. The idea of a fire drill is to learn to handle stressful situations like a fire without causing panic! I hope the girls were ok and not traumatized from the drill!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  27. That is absolutely crazy! I have never heard of a fire drill handled in that way. Those poor kids!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  28. This so typical of fear mongering and so traumatic for the girls, how awful of adults to act this way. The more I read as I said numerous times before Lynz, the more blessed I feel that you were guided to leave.
    Love Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  29. Your stories are truly terrifying. It is unthinkable that anyone should have had to live through these awful experiences. I’m glad you came through and have been able to find happiness on the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  30. It is beyond belief that these people can be so crass! They are no better than abusers!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  31. That would scare me, and I am a grown adult!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  32. The first thing they tell you over here is to stay calm! Unbelievable and insane. I’m so glad your daughters had you to come home to. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016
  33. I’m so sorry your girls had to go through that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    July 12, 2016
  34. Surely fire drills are supposed to teach them how to respond calmly and safely in the event of a real fire? :S That drill seems rather counter-productive to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2016
  35. Very frightening and what mayhem ensued, Lynn. It would have been such a different life had there been a way to break free earlier. I am glad they are all so well adjusted. This is from your outpouring of love and hopefulness, Lynn. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    July 15, 2016
  36. Interesting method, huh? Your poor babies. Well, thank God there was no real danger (not to belittle falling down the stairs) and they all went home safely together.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 16, 2016
  37. Whoa! That was helpful, eh? I love your true life stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 16, 2016
  38. This is an awful way to treat children. And as if your children didn’t already have enough stress in their lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 17, 2016
  39. Horrible. Orchestrated chaos and fear mongering. This school was more of a torture facility than anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 20, 2016
  40. What a joke! You would think they’d figure out a strategy for order and being able to do a head count once outside. You would think…

    Thankfully it was only drill!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 4, 2017

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