This morning we dropped our daughter off for her first day of grande section (3rd year) of pre-school. As we posed for the first-day-of-school photo in front of the school, we were flanked by soldiers with machine guns and two more were flanking Dave who was taking the photo. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE! I dropped my baby off and left with men with big guns doing rounds of the neighborhood churches and schools. No wonder I was hyped up for like an hour after we dropped her off.
This is our new normal in France. The soldiers walk around in fours; two in front and two in back. We saw soldiers on the beach on vacation, they are in the metros, in front of the church down the street and walking the streets. Jack and Lexie ask a lot of questions about the soldiers. They’d tell you, “they keep the bad guys away.”
I’m still not comfortable with it but I guess it shows that France is taking very visual steps in fighting terrorism. Apart from the soldiers and getting our bags checked at the entrance to almost any building, our lives look pretty much the same. It isn’t a state of war here; don’t get that vibe from what I’m writing or what the media might tell you.
Despite mama’s little (internal) freak out this morning, the first day of school went great. Lexie skipped the whole way to school. After school she told me all about how they played crocodile, sang a song about a guy getting bit three times by a mosquito and how the teacher kept saying “shhhh.” Sounds like a pretty typical first day of school for a 4 year-old.
Have you ever dropped your kid off at school while someone stood guard with machine guns? What was memorable about your kids’ first day of school?
One thought on “Back-to-School. Not pictured: machine guns”
Oh my! That sounds scary for sure… but also interesting (and somewhat encouraging) that this is how the government is choosing to fight against terrorism. I hope that, if/when violence continues to occur, such forces prove to be helpful.