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An Alarming Brush With Disaster

, , , , | Learning | December 13, 2021

This happened when I was a sophomore in high school, the fall of 2006. It was the passing time between the first hour and second hour. I was walking right next to the wall, sort of dragging my shoulder along it. I walked past the fire alarm and bumped into it. One step past it, the fire alarm went off. Everyone in the hallway froze and looked at each other, and then we very calmly walked out. 

As I walked outside the building, it dawned on me that I was the one who set the fire alarm off. I felt panicked and guilty. I knew that this was a big deal; setting off the alarm when there wasn’t really a fire could get you in legal trouble. I didn’t know who I should tell about this while outside, so I decided to wait and tell my second hour teacher when we got back inside. 

When we were allowed back in, I went straight to my second hour teacher. She was already talking to a student.

Student: “I saw the girl who pulled it. She totally did it on purpose.”

Me: *On the verge of tears* “Mrs. [Teacher], can I please talk to you in private?”

Teacher: “Yes, of course.”

We went into the hall.

Me: *Full-on crying* “I set off the fire alarm. I didn’t mean to do it; it was an accident! I bumped into it!”

Teacher: “It’s okay, [My Name]. It’ll be okay. But we need to go to the principal and tell him what happened.”

We walked to the principal’s office. We had to wait a little bit before we could come in. Once in, I explained the story to him, sobbing the entire time.

Principal: “Thank you for coming to me and being honest about what happened. One of the reasons you had to wait so long was because we were reviewing security footage. It clearly shows a student pulling the fire alarm. You are not in any trouble. Just so you know, you cannot set off the alarm by bumping into it. You have to pull the white lever.”

I felt so relieved knowing I hadn’t set off the alarm. My teacher gave me a few minutes to calm down before I had to go back to class. I’ve never brushed up a fire alarm again.

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