Mr. Wolf is in the Building

A seven year old explains the chilling new security drill at his school.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post first ran on Dec. 19, 2012, right after the tragedy at Newtown. 

I was forwarded an email from a parent I know this morning.

I have changed the names of the principal, teacher and student involved. But the email is otherwise quoted directly. I apologize in advance to the person who authored this, but it speaks volumes about what parents’ fears and the new realities of life after the tragedy at Newtown.

Timothy (age 7) told me about a new drill they practiced yesterday. Called Mr. Wolf. Principle Johnson comes over the loud speaker and says, “Mr. Wolf is in the building.” And the kids empty out the side closets and climb into them and shut the doors. Ms. Carlisle turns out the lights. I said, “Who’s Mr. Wolf?” He said it’s a code word for if a guy who wants to hurt kids ever comes into the building. I asked if they giggled in the closet and if it was stuffy in there. He said it has holes in it so they could breathe just fine. And that they were supposed to be very quiet.

I wept when I read this. But I was also grateful for the preparedness planning behind it. If only wish we could now get each of our elected officials to spend a few minutes in this little coat closet with them.


About Mark Greene

Good Men Project Executive Editor Mark Greene’s new book, REMAKING MANHOOD is a collection of Mark's most powerful articles on American culture, relationships, family and parenting. It is a timely and balanced look at the issues at the heart of the modern masculinity movement. Remaking Manhood is available on Amazon's free Kindle Reader app for all Android, Windows, and Apple devices.

Mark's articles on masculinity and manhood have received over 150,000 FB shares and five million page views. He writes and talks men's Issues at Salon, Shriver Report, Huffington Post, HLN, the BBC, and the New York Times. Mark and his wife, therapist Dr. Saliha Bava, live in New York City.


  1. Now I’m even more glad that I taught all 3 of my kids to disobey the teacher, break a window, throw a coat over the sill & head for the hills…..
    Hidden in a closet sounds uncomfortably close to fish in a barrel….


  1. […] all of the necessary therapy and counseling in her life)? Better evacuation plans? Such as “Mr. Wolf is in the Building“? Teaching your children to run into the woods when a person with assault-style rifles starts […]

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