School shootings have unfortunately become a norm. I am constantly seeing headlines and breaking news interruptions bearing bad news yet again. According to CNN, there have been 154 mass school shootings in 2018 alone.
As a result, many schools have started having monthly active shooter drills so that the staff and students have a better idea what to do if that situation were to prevent itself. My mom, a preschool teacher in the Hilliard City School District in Columbus, participated in a day long active shooter drill in which officers from local police stations simulated various kinds of shooter scenarios.
The officers ran drills with one shooter in the academic area of the building, several shooters in the larger common area and an unknown number of shooters in hidden locations. Because the Hilliard Police Division administered the drills, they held nothing back, wanting to make the drills feel as real as possible by even firing blanks into the air to insight panic.
All elementary, middle and high schools in the Hilliard CIty School District are required to practice these drills and go over the procedures with their students. Why don’t colleges have any active shooter drills?
In April of 2007, a shooter entered West Ambler Johnston and Norris Hall at Virginia Tech University and shot and killed 33 people and became one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. Before then, in 1970, students opened fire in protest at Kent State University, killing four.
Both of these shootings occurred at universities, where the students were unaware what to do in that instance. What if a school shooter were to come to Witt? What would we do then?
Not to sound dark, but part of the reason elementary, middle and high schools are prime targets for school shooters is because most of the students/ faculty are all in one building, making it easy for a shooter to injure or kill as many people as possible. So it makes sense that a university wouldn’t be the number one target for a school shooting, but on the other hand, more people attend universities than elementary, middle and high schools.
In my opinion, I think that during your first year seminar, students should practice an active shooter drill in the Student Center, Hollenbeck or the Science Center and in a dorm building. While it would be difficult to get the entire student body to participate in a drill all at once, I think that going over it in smaller groups like that will allow for better understanding on the students end and gives them an opportunity to ask questions in a setting and group that they are already familiar with.
I think that it’s necessary to prepare the university for an active shooter drill because of how common school shootings seem to be. I’d hate to see something bad happen at Witt before we take action to protect our students and to prepare them as best as we can for that kind of situation.