The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Updates on the London Bombing

Today's bomb blasts in London appear to be linked to al-Qaueda, and inevitably cause thoughts to fall back to the blasts in Madrid, and years ago, to events on 9/11 in New York.

Currently, most of London is closed, in the sense that all transport is down, mobile networks are not functioning, and only slowly is internet access to news sites being restored.
The news this morning was dire: many blasts, all in central banking areas / transport hubs / tourist and student areas ... but as with any terrorist event, it takes a while for news to calm down to report reality, as opposed to hearsay.

There was an olde worlde, WWII feel to the news at first, as staff huddled in rooms trying to raise news on old fashioned radio sets, or compared notes on how to get through to friends and family working in the affected areas, most of whom had been confined to their offices all morning. We stood in silent circle to hear the prime minister's speech at noon.

Only later do we tell the children that something has happened. The government has advised that parents do not pick up children, that they do not travel, that children stay in schools as long as is practical.

We're safe here, on the south side of the river, but cheap housing and fast transport links into the city mean that many of our 1700 students have parents who work in the affected areas.
I was trying to get LBC radio to route through the electronic whiteboard when a student receptionist wandered in, saw what was on the screen and panicked. His mum works in Trafalgar Square, travels in from London Bridge. It's important to take worries seriously, while still playing down the possibility of disasters. The nearest blast to London Bridge was north of the station, I reassured him, whereas his mum would have to have travelled west. She's probably okay, but best not to ring her yet, while the network is down. Best to wait for her to contact you to tell you she's safe.
State of uncertainty.

None of us quite sure how to teach today, but all of us knowing that we need to keep the safety jacket of routine solid.

Just in case.