Schools unprepared for shootings

Jasmine King

Contributing Writer

On Feb. 27, a 17-year-old student walked into an Ohio high school with a gun. Minutes later, five students were shot and the gunman fled. T.J. Lane is responsible for the deaths of three of his classmates and injuring two more. This incident could have been less deadly if students had more guidance through policies and drills of how to handle a situation as dire as this. But, are the schools preparing students enough that if the situation did occur, students would know what to do? No, the policies that are in effect in schools do not prepare students for emergency situations as well as they could.

In my high school, we had drills to try to prepare us for events like a school shooting or an invader that the administration saw as a threat. I remember crouching down away from the windows so that someone who was looking inside would have to open the door to see all of the students and teachers in one corner of the classroom. Looking back, every time we would perform these drills, I would think how stupid it was. For one thing, if a person with a gun wanted to come into the school, he or she would most likely be smart enough to do it on a day where school is in session. The fact that we sat away from the window means nothing in the scope of things. Secondly, if the gunman would open the door to see all of us sitting in one spot, this would make things easier on him, not harder. The fact that these drills do not take into account the possibility that the gunman would have knowledge or experience of how schools respond to crisis situations is preposterous.

Another reason why the policies are practically useless is because no one takes them seriously. Think about it. In high school (and even in college) we have fire drills at least once a month. But no one runs out screaming and frantic because we know it is not real. To be honest, most of us would have no idea how to respond if the building was actually on fire, nor would we believe it unless we saw it with our own eyes. Even then, most students have never been in an emergency situation, and consequently do not know how they will react. Americans were shocked at school shootings in the past like that at Columbine High School, but students cannot imagine something like that would happen to them or on their campus. Like my grandmother used to say, “You cannot understand it until it happens to you.” Students have to start taking drills seriously; the University does them for a reason.

In moving forward, we, as a University, must foresee crisis situations and let every student know exactly what to do if it does happen. Yes, we have fire drills, but what about if a gunman opens fire somewhere on campus? I can honestly say I would have no idea what to do except to call 911 and maybe Public Safety. If an event like this would happen on campus, I would feel completely unprepared.

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