In the wake of a recent surge of school shootings across the country, SIUE needs to initiate a program that teaches students what to do if the worst-case scenarios happen.
Tragedies can happen on any school campus. Even though SIUE is comparatively smaller than other schools, this doesn't protect us from facing a similar crisis.
On Monday, March 27, another school shooting happened in Nashville. This, alongside the shootings at Michigan State University and The Colorado School of Mines, where the university failed to announce there was a dangerous man on campus until shots were already fired, are once again showing that these issues will not end anytime soon. This is why all students need to be prepared for when it happens.
Most schools already institute a form of emergency training. Throughout elementary and high school, students are taught what to do in the case of any disaster occurring, not just a school shooting. Fire drills and tornado drills are the most commonplace.
However, upon arriving at SIUE, these drills have seemingly disappeared. It’s almost as if it’s assumed that everyone knows what to do already, and so continuing these drills is unnecessary. This is a dangerous way of thinking.
When an electrical fire broke out at Peck Hall, some classes simply didn’t respond to the alarm, thinking that it was the first Tuesday of the month and that it must have been a test. Luckily, the fire was put out quickly and wasn’t allowed to spread, but if the opposite were true, there may have been a tragedy on campus.
We cannot simply wait for a disaster to happen to change the school’s approach. There needs to be improvements to SIUE’s emergency alert system, as well as having drills that teach students and faculty what to do when said emergencies occur.
SIUE’s e-Lerts are a good way to solve the first problem. When a person was walking up to cars and asking the drivers get out, an e-Lert quickly went out to warn students of the issue. Doing this would solve problems such as faculty, staff and students not knowing if an alarm is a test or the real deal. However, the e-Lert needs to be as quick as possible so that the least amount of time is wasted. If they go out late, they may as well not go out at all.
The second problem can only be solved by reinstating drills in the school. Whether it be once a month or a few times throughout the year, it is important that everyone on campus knows exactly what to do when emergencies happen. What are we supposed to do during a tornado? Or a fire? Drills would allow these questions to not be left unanswered.
It is the job of the university to provide a safe campus where students can live in peace. There are areas where SIUE is able to do this, and obviously, they cannot predict every issue or crisis
However, in keeping with making the school a safe place for students, there need to be better systems in place to teach students what to do in times of emergency. We cannot wait until a tragedy happens to take action. It needs to happen now.
Thanks for writing this! We have classroom doors that open inward--the opposite of the safety recommendation. Our door don't lock and we have no windows in Peck Hall. If something were to happen, we wouldn't be able to do anything at all. Once, I watched as a building full of people exited Peck Hall as the tornado siren wailed because no one was ever taught the difference between the tornado alarm and the fire alarm. Safety could do with a huge beef up from campus administrators.
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