20th Anniversary of 9/11 with Ms. Laumeyer

Sarah Zheng

Where were you when 9/11 happened and what were you doing? 

I was at school, administering the ISTEP test.

 How did you hear about it happening? What was your initial reaction and thoughts  to hearing about it? Were you with students at that time?

It was right after testing concluded that day. While at lunch, someone had put the TV on in the Math Department Office. I do not recall knowing about the attacks while students were in the room. I was horrified. After the second plane went into the other tower I knew the attack was intentional. I thought, “who would possibly do this? … how could they murder so many?” One of my thoughts was that of comparing the attack on 9/11 to that of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The word, “war” went through my mind.

How did CHS prepare for 9/11? Were you personally prepared? Was there a plan for anything like 9/11? Any regulations or was it chaos that day? 

The only prequel that I can think of that pertained to 9/11 would be the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993. So, really none of us was prepared for an attack of this magnitude. To my knowledge, outside of doing the required fire drills and earthquake drills, CHS didn’t have anything in place to prepare for something like 9/11. I don’t think we were even doing lock-down drills back then.

Can you explain a little about how the day at CHS was different or explain how that day went?

Toward the end of the day, once more information was obtained, there was an announcement regarding the attacks. It was a very somber afternoon.

  What was your mentality during the whole day? 

That afternoon, my emotions went from being horrified, to sad, to angry, and then to wanting justice.

What are some takeaways or lessons learned from experiencing 9/11 at CHS? How has 9/11 affected you personally?

One of the things I learned about myself was that I could maintain my professionalism with my students. Inside I was very emotional. But, outside I maintained a professional attitude. I did not want to further upset my students. I learned not to take my safety and freedoms for granted.

 Do you think CHS and other schools or public buildings reacted the same way to 9/11 happening or do you think CHS reacted differently?

I can guarantee that the New York School and Washington D.C. School systems were affected a lot more than we were. The closer to ground zero and the Pentagon a school system was resulted in higher levels of security, etc. CHS was very sensitive to how students were being affected and how they were feeling, though.

  How has 9/11 prepared you for future situations? What about CHS?

Again, I learned not to take my safety and freedoms for granted. At CHS, we have a lot of contingency plans for different types of situations. We train a lot so that we won’t panic too much in adverse situations.