Since 2012, there have been over 200 school shootings, the most recent killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. Since then, there have been several opinions about what the government should do in order to keep school shootings from happening in the future.
Some of the solutions are outrageous like teachers being able to have guns in schools. Last week, while sitting down with survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump said he wants teachers to carry guns in schools. In a tweet, he stated, “…look at the possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience – only the best. 20 percent of teachers, a lot, would now be able to.”
Teachers, on the other hand, have a different opinion on the matter. As educators, is it their responsibility to act as security guards or police officers in their classrooms? Many teachers do not think they should be armed and have expressed their concerns and opinions with being asked to operate guns in schools.
However, there are others solutions that could be more useful like having police officers or security guards patrol the campus. What other methods can be used to protect students and faculty?
In the case that a dangerous person enters the school, many schools, including East
Grand Rapids High School, have installed door barricades that lock classroom doors into the floor. The bottom corner of all classroom doors has a metal plate with a groove in the middle. When the three parts of the barricade are locked together, it’s impossible for anyone to open the door. Even if a door window is broken, the intruder will not be able to unlock the barricade and get into the classroom.
Before the Parkland, Florida shooting, the shooter posted photos of himself holding knives and guns on his Instagram feed. In some photos, he was covering his face with a bandana or scarf. So, what can students do to help when they see something like that or if they suspect that a student or faculty member is unstable?
Here at GRCC, faculty and staff can contact their campus or local police and can also contact the school’s Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). BIT members will receive reports of a possible troubled student or faculty member and will monitor and assess the person.
Experts and officials say that social media posts can be a big indicator and advise students to reach out to officials if they see anything alarming.
Lockdown drills started in Southern California in the late 1970’s in regards to drive by shootings. Much like in modern drills, lights would be turned off, curtains drawn and students were told to keep quiet. Drills are required to occur twice in a year where students hurry into any class they are closest to, hide in a corner – out of sight of the person looking through the door window – lock the door and stay quiet. Often times, they are told to barricade the door and grab something to protect themselves.
Professors at Grand Rapids Community College are told to always have the door locked and closed. Professors also inform students of what they should do if an attacker does enter the classroom. “Everything around you can be used as a weapon,” is what we’ve been told since the drills started.
We’ve all heard from parents or professors that, “we never had to even worry about these drills when we were in school, all we had to worry about were fire drills and tornado drills.”
It’s unfortunate that schools need to practice drills, but it’s time to ask, what Grand Rapids Community College should do to prevent a school shooting on our own campus?
Although campus police are stationed on the Main Campus, the team of officers is small. Staff and students need to be vigilant at all times.
GRCC students and faculty should also be taught to know the signs of a possibly unstable classmate or co-worker. GRCC administration should host workshops on how to stay alert to what others are doing and saying, either in person or on social media. The GRCC should also subscribe to a social media screening program. This could help detect possible threats to the school and its students.
Just like many other schools, classroom doors should have the door barricades installed onto them. This would help prevent a dangerous person with access to classroom keys from entering.
In the unfortunate case that someone attacks the GRCC campus, GRCC-PD encourages students to remember the “Run, Hide, Flight” method in case there is a shooter on campus. Students and faculty can contact the campus police at (616) 234-4010 and BIT on their webpage or by calling (616) 234-4160 to report any suspicious activity. In an emergency, call 911.
It’s the GRCC community’s job to keep our campus safe. Students and faculty need to work together to report suspicious activity and to help others who need it.