Reflecting on alerts of an “active shooter”

By Emily Anness:

This incident was a wake-up call to many. When students received the “An armed person is on campus,” text, especially in class, professors and staff were either prepared, or were not. In light of other recent gun-related activities happening in our country, it is important to have a classroom plan if an active shooter actually was on campus.

One professor told his students not to follow him as he left to go to his office. They determined that the room they were in was not safe, and that everyone can move to a safer place if they wanted to. He walked out into the hall with students trailing behind, until he turned around and told them to stop following him. They all exchanged blank stares in the open hallway, until he decided to lead them to a classroom the floor below.

The professor emailed his class after the fact: “…I did not have a plan… I really feel dumb for not making sure I had everyone rounded up. That was a pretty big fail on my part. It’s a lesson to me to have a plan for situations like this in the future. Hopefully this won’t come up often, but I feel like I let you all down.”

I hope that in the future, professors have a plan in mind for each classroom that they are in. The classrooms vary in structure and layout and there should definitely be a clear plan set out for what students should do in each classroom, possibly stated in the syllabi in the beginning of each semester.

We have heard a lot about plans being made for elementary, middle, and high schools if shooters were to enter, but not much about college campuses. Anyone can walk onto campuses at any time, and we should all take today as a lesson and learn from it so clear plans can be made in the future.

By Kendall Clarke:

As soon as I saw the text message stating there was an armed person on campus, I could feel my stomach clench and my nerves freeze up. I was in class at the time and looked up to see my professor continue lecturing as though nothing was going on. I did not know what to do—should I say something or keep listening?

Soon, three women entered our classroom. They stated that they were guest speakers and were told to take shelter in the nearest building because there was an armed person on campus—that was how our professor was informed to take action.

My class was in Sullivan House, a one-room building covered in windows and donned with a glass door that we had no idea how to lock. The best we could do was close the window blinds, turn off the lights and projector, and huddle against the wall in an attempt to stay out of the line of sight from the door. Anyone who walked up to the door would have been able to see us, though.

I do not know what was more unnerving about the events of Monday—the fact that my professor did not receive the same R-Alert as the rest of us or the fact that I was forced to ‘take shelter’ in an unsafe location. No one should be forced to be in the situation that my classmates and myself found ourselves in.

By Diego Medrano:

Once one of my classmates read the R-Alert out loud, there was a hanging moment in the air. No one really moved, and then everything looked different. The open door looked menacing for once; I watched the windows as though they would be shattered at any moment.

There was a chaos waiting to happen among us. People stood up and sat back down, not really knowing what to do, shushing each other, talking over one another.

Thankfully, our professor reacted quickly. He asked all of us to move away from the windows, closed and locked the door, closed all the blinds, and turned off the lights. Had the danger been worse than it turned out to be, we would have been prepared thanks to his quick safety measures.

By Jojo Peloquin:

I am the house manager for Pinehurst, and nothing I did in training prepared me for the text notifying the Rollins community of an active shooter. It is not that Residential Life and Explorations did not prepare us for this moment, because they should not have to. The immediate panic was fueled by horrific images of the Parkland tragedy.

I was in the common room of Pinehurst, watching a movie with one of my residents, when we both received the text. We jumped up, shut the blinds,  and turned the TV off. I told her to go into her room or a bathroom.

This was when I panicked. I knew that there were people on Mills lawn, but I was unsure if I should step outside and let them know or if I should take cover in the room.

After peeking through the blinds and seeing students and faculty taking cover, I returned to panicking and making sure my residents were taken care of, just in case they did not get the text, phone call, and/or email. I posted in our house group for everyone to take cover until further notice by Rollins, and then I waited to see what would happen.

I am a person who likes to take action, but thinking about a person with a gun possibly harming my peers left me unnerved and unsure of exactly what to do. I do not think these should be situations we should prepare for, but if we are unsure of how to protect ourselves in this recent increase of gun violence, then we should have the proper training to take care of each other.

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