This post is inspired by the Orlando shooting. I stand with Orlando and send my thoughts and prayers to assist in the healing from this tragic event.
As Student Affairs professionals working and, for many, living on college campuses, shootings are always nerve-racking. Hearing about the Orlando shooting last Sunday morning brought me back to a thought I have had multiple times: what if it happens at my campus?
When it comes to being a Student Affairs professional, we always think about how we can help students in any situation. I have always been told to make sure I am safe and stress to my students to keep themselves safe if anything were to happen.
This past Spring, I experienced an armed person on my campus. Thankfully, the suspect never turned into an active shooter, but during that time I could not help worrying about my staff and residents. As much as I wanted to stay safe myself, I needed to make sure everyone else was, too. I went against what I knew I should be doing and walked around (only inside) my building to make sure everyone was OK. (Keep in mind I was also in contact with professional staff and made sure I was aware of any changes).
One of the reasons I felt confident enough to do this was thanks to my prior participation in an active shooter drill. In today’s world, is this something we need to make as common as a fire drill? Sadly, I would have to say yes it is. As professionals who live and work on a college campus, we need to be prepared for any situation. We are the ones who, by holding a simple 30 minute drill, could potentially save lives.
As society changes, we need to keep up. Unfortunately, that could mean more drills, more presentations, and more programs geared towards campus safety. Knowledge is power, so we need to make sure students are equipped with the power to keep themselves safe.