By Daniel Reyes
Shootings in Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) have increased since the 90’s according to the fbi.gov website. The increase spawned an investigative report by the U.S secret service, U.S department of Education and FBI to help understand and dissect IHE shootings.
The report states that most incidents occur in 4-year institutions (82 percent) and 14 percent occurred in 2-year institutions.
Safety regulations regarding campus shootings are widely unknown to students on campus. The lack of knowledge leaves some students worried and a few more hostile.
“My first reaction would be to run,” answered Tristan Smith, 19, liberal arts major, when asked what he would do if a shooting were to happen on campus. “But my gut reaction would probably be to go towards the [gun] man.”
The former answer, to run, was the second most popular answers according to a March 2012 survey of Suffolk students. The survey asked students about their knowledge of safety precautions during a shooting and how well the school has provided safety information on campus shootings.
Approximately 43 percent of students answered, “Run” when asked, “Do you know what to do during a campus shooting?” About 46 percent answered, “No” and 9 percent knew the correct drill.
“The school can do more,” said Smith. He continued saying that because the school does little to inform students on shooting safety procedures; he would probably act on his own will.
One of the most deadly shootings happened on April 16, 2007 at Virginia Tech University; 32 people lost their lives and 17 were wounded. This tragedy spawned awareness for safety procedures regarding shootings.
Schools and IHE’s began implementing more detailed evacuation plans and drills to help students be more prepared. The Ammerman campus employs drills that focus on what to do during a shooting.
“I remember being part of a drill where we turned off the lights and hid in a corner,” said Scott Twining, 22, liberal arts major. He described the drill he was part of that lasted around 15 minutes. He said that he had no idea what it was for but eventually found out it was for campus shootings.
A majority of students have either never been part of such drills or believe the school hasn’t done enough to provide information on campus shooting safety procedures.
“The only safety information I remember receiving was when I took a tour,” explained TJ Gomez, 18, liberal arts major. “They talked about the call booth. That’s about it.”
The emergency call booths are scattered around all three campuses and are there for students to report any kind of danger to security. It is a safety precaution the campus offers for students.
Security is also posted across the campus and is on patrol daily, though students believe the security can do little to help during a shooting.
“Security doesn’t do s***” said Josue Gomez 22, graphic arts major. Gomez explained allegedly, how a student pulled out a knife during class one time on the Grant campus and how long it took security to arrive at the classroom. “We could’ve all been dead by then,” he said.
Director of Fire and Public Safety, Baycan Fideli, at the Ammerman Campus supported the security staff, “They do the best to their ability to help protect the students of this campus.”
Fideli continued saying that during a school shooting security contacts local law enforcement and helps to direct students to safety.
“We perform regular drills throughout the year that cover all types of emergency” said Fideli. “Students can also go into the college website to learn more about all safety procedures.”
On the college website an Emergency quick reference guide lists procedures for every type of emergency. According to the “Active Shooter/Gun/ Shots Fired” procedures, students must immediately remove themselves from the area where the gunman is, then notify 911 and public safety. The website lists the information students should give to the 911 operator.
It also states that if you are in a classroom or office, you should lock/secure the door, turn off the lights, move away from the doors and windows and stay low to the floor and out of sight. One should never open the door until instructed to by phone or by law enforcement.
“It is sad that students are not informed on these safety procedures,” said Fideli. “But we will continue to try and enforce them more.”
It’s hard to point out a potential gunman, there is no exact profile of a person who would commit such an act, but if any students feel any potential danger, they are encouraged to call public safety.