Universities are considering their plans to keep campuses safe in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
The tragic events of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School are still fresh on the minds of Americans nationwide, and everyone from President Obama to the NRA are weighing in with opinions on what reform is needed to prevent future tragedies.
Universities, too, are considering plans to keep campuses safe.
Coupled with memories of the not-too-long-ago Virginia Tech shooting, many campus safety officials are redoubling efforts to educate students on what steps can be taken to protect themselves in the event of an active-shooter situation.
The University of Kentucky, which just last year dealt with riots following the school’s NCAA basketball championship, has offered active-shooter training sessions for more than three years and is re-emphasizing what they’ve always taught, according to the university’s Community Affairs Officer Alan Saylor.
“We’re trying to teach [students] what they need to do,” Saylor said. “We as law enforcement institutions have known since 1999, after the Columbine incident and we just have to share that knowledge.”
Saylor said he emphasizes the need to make mental notes of safe exit plans for every area on campus a student may frequent, including details as small as knowing whether classroom doors open in or out.
Kentucky isn’t alone in this education effort. The number of universities utilizing such trainings is large and many rely on the Center for Personal Protection and Safety (CPPS) for predesigned curriculum to inform students about what to do in an active-shooter crisis.
According to CPPS Founder and CEO Randy Spivey, the organization provides training videos and curriculum to over 1,500 universities nationwide.
The organization also works with many Fortune 100 companies and federal agencies, including the FBI and Secret Service.
Spivey described two important phases in being prepared for an active shooter incident on a college campus. First, people have to recognize red flags or behaviors of concern.
“It is a myth that people just snap, almost always there are signs,” Spivey said.
CPPS teaches that signs to look for include extreme outbursts, behavioral changes or threats.
Second, students have to make mental plans.
“You don’t want to be paranoid, but you want to ask yourself ‘what if’ questions,” Spivey said.
CPPS has seen an increase in demand for training services since the Newtown massacre, particularly from schools which has only increased Spivey’s efforts to educate students and, hopefully, save future lives.
“This is really an issue of society,” Spivey said. “After seeing incidents in all these places it is critical that you train kids and other individuals.”
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