Upon entering a new year, people set goals and get excited for what’s to come. While many of us would like to dwell on these happier thoughts, at only 25 days into 2013, there have already been five school shootings.When many Americans picture school shootings, it is in a high school setting. While three of the shootings from 2013 have been in high schools, the other two were on college campuses. As students, we should not have to worry about a shooter coming onto campus. But the sad truth is that we must face this reality.
“Anyone made aware of a campus shooter would contact 911 and Bloomington Police would be immediately involved. We would send an emergency text alert to all student, faculty and staff with the location of the concern,” Dean Karla-Carney Hall said.
With an increase in school shootings – according to infoplease.com, there have have been 46 school shootings since January 2000 – many legislative gun policies have looked at possible changes. This is true both on the state and national level. IWU is not immune to this need to ensure that our firearm policies are always current.
“University policy is no firearms on campus and we have not changed that,” said Director of Security Chuck Adam.
“We have an Emergency Response Team that meets regularly to review our procedures and conduct tabletop drills. They have reviewed this policy,” Carney-Hall said.
While there has not been an incident of gun violence on this campus before, it is important that all students, staff and faculty feel well prepared to handle a situation that could arise.
But after talking to students across our campus, it is shocking to find the number of students who do not know what our school’s plan of action is in the case of a shooter on campus.
“I have no idea what I am supposed to do in the case of a shooting on campus,” first-year Jessica Omark said.
“I actually do not know what to do if a shooter were to come onto campus and that is probably really bad,” said first-year Taylor Fox.
While the IWU administration has created a detailed policy explaining what to do in the case of a shooting, it is equally as important for students to be aware of it. As it stands, many students are not informed on what the official school policy is as far as school shootings are concerned.
Many of us are used to the drills run in high school that stated where we were supposed to go and what we were supposed to do.
While we understand that this kind of system may not be possible on a campus because of the lack of set schedules and the constant coming and going of students, an email or information sessions detailing the official policies of Illinois Wesleyan and the Bloomington-Normal Police Department might make students feel more comfortable.
“In light of all the recent mass shootings, a refresher on what I should do if a shooter were on campus would make me feel a lot safer. It could even be something as simple as an email outlining school policy,” junior Jennie Black said.
It is hard to ever be fully prepared for something as difficult as a school shooting. It is often difficult to even face the possibility. The most important thing is that all students, faculty, and staff be as prepared as possible.
By sending just a quick reminder of what to do, the administration can ensure that the IWU community has this crucial knowledge.