By MAYA PAGE
Students at Central Michigan University were leaving campus for Spring break when they were alerted that there was an active shooter. Two people were fatally shot in a residence hall on March 2. Police cautioned students that the suspect was “armed and dangerous,” and to stay inside their dorms and classrooms, according to The New York Times.
There have been 12 school shootings in 2018. To put that into perspective, in only nine weeks, over 46 people have been shot and killed or injured at school, according to a preliminary report by CNN. Thousands of students and teachers across America can say they are survivors of a shooting. This should not be commonplace.
“Due to the recent shootings and threats that have been happening on an all too frequent basis, the Department of Homeland Security campaign of ‘If You See Something Say Something,’ could not be more appropriate,” David Miles, director of public safety on the FDU Metro campus said. “Individuals must report persons or anything that could be suspicious so we can properly investigate.”
Students at Central Michigan University took to social media to send updates during the event and warn peers. One student posted a photo on Twitter of her desk moved in front of her dorm room door to block anyone from entering. She captioned the photo, “My door should NOT look like this right now.”
Another student tweeted, “If you’re on the CMU campus please stay inside! Stay safe everyone. This is terrifying to wake up to,” and posted a video of police on speakers telling students to stay where they are and informing students that the suspect is “still at large.”
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, had no idea that Feb. 14 would be the day that they had to say goodbye to 17 classmates and their lives would change forever. The students of Central Michigan University had no idea that they would spend the start of their Spring break barricading their dorm rooms due to an active shooter.
“I wish that I could guarantee that no one will ever be involved in any active shooter situation, but unfortunately I cannot,” Miles said. “All members of the campus community have to realize that it takes everyone to make the campus safe and we rely on individuals to provide us with information.”
As college students, our thoughts are focused on exams and making weekend plans – not how to prepare for a shooting. Going away to school can be scary enough, and students are putting their trust into an institution and virtual strangers to stay safe.
For the first time in your life, you are on your own. It is easy to get so caught up in the freedom that the last thing on your mind is safety.
No one should have to live in fear in their learning environment, but as these tragedies are becoming more and more a part of reality, it is critical to be cautious and prepared.
“The campus has an emergency operations team and plans to address many different emergency situations,” Miles said. “Active shooter unfortunately is one we do have a plan for. While you can have all the policies and procedures in place, until the incident occurs, that is when the action plan does go into place.”
If campus officers are informed of a weapon or active shooter, local authorities are immediately contacted.
“Public Safety officers will assist the police operations, but since Public Safety officers are not armed, they will not go after the shooter,” Miles said.
Elementary and high schools often practice active shooter drills where they lock doors, draw blinds and the school goes on lockdown.
During the CMU shooting, police noticed students to stay indoors and parents who were picking up students for break were advised to stay in nearby motels, according to The New York Times. After a six- hour search, police officers went building to building to evacuate students.
“In an elementary or high school, it is much easier to do drills for active shooter,” Miles said. “At a college or university, it is much harder to schedule an active shooter drill because the classes change and students move from building to building.”
Miles urges everyone to watch a short video called “Run Hide Fight” on YouTube that could possibly help someone survive an active shooter event.
For any questions or concerns, contact the Office of Public Safety.