Teaching students safety measures in universities

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By Leah Frost / Advertising Manager

By Leah Frost / Advertising Manager

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a man calmly walked into a grocery store, approached the customer service counter and declared, “I just shot some people.”

One Goh, a 43- year- old man, made this declaration in the public grocery story after allegedly leaving Oikos University, a small Christian University located in Oakland, according to the paper. Despite his calm demeanor, an hour earlier a gruesome scene nearly 5 miles down the road left seven dead and three injured on the university campus.

According to The Chronicle, the suspect, a former nursing student at the university, is rumored to have unresolved issues with the college that may have triggered the rampage projected onto the innocent students still actively attending classes on campus.

The gunman used a 45-caliber handgun to cause what has been stated as one of the “deadliest campus attacks in California history,” by The Chronicle.

This is a situation that is tragic on so many levels. The loss students will have to endure for their classmates, the loss the families of the victims will feel as they grieve over their loved ones and an event that should have never happened.

The violation of safety and security that will be felt campus wide as they process of grief and recovery will no doubt be slow to heal the university and every person that steps foot on the grounds.

Although this is a tragedy that will have an imprint in the history of the college, the state and education as a whole, there is a deeper underlying problem of desensitization that is setting in with the growth of violence on campuses throughout the country.

Students are being taught at a young age how to deal with natural disasters. With an earthquake, duck and cover. In a tsunami, get to high ground. In a fire don’t panic, stop drop and roll and move to a designated safety area.

Many schools have intensified security and instilled a sense of safety in the form of metal detectors, on site cameras and lock down of campuses during school hours. Though how much safety does this really bring college students? The answer, not much. If the person is determined enough, he or she will probably find a way around intense security measures.

Once upon a time, lockers were available at all upper level schools for the privacy and convenience of the students, a little place that was theirs during school hours to store books, decorate, etc. Students now live without that extended privacy and must prove on a daily basis that they are trustworthy and safe to be around because of mistakes made by people in past generations.

There is usually more to the story when a person snaps and creates violent situations around innocent students, but the rarity of attacks at the university level is not as common as attacks within the K-12 school systems.

The events that took place at Oikos University are a reminder that no one is safe, not even at a religious higher education university.

The impending 5- year anniversary of the violence that took place at Virginia Tech was being reviewed in the news yesterday morning prior to the Oikos attack.

These examples of chaos and fear played out without direct reasoning is exactly why school systems at the K-12 level as well as the university level need to rethink their approach to safety.

Students are properly given basic information on how to deal with a natural disaster, but are they given proper tools to defend themselves in an attack?

Are there plans laid out on how to react if a threat or act of violence is aimed at the learning institutions?

It may seem counterproductive to teach students how to fight violence with violence, or how to find a safe place to hide in the event tragedy strikes, but the alternatives of merely beefing up security with metal detectors and taking away students privacy seems like an easy ineffective route. Most schools take these precautions because it is the least expensive route to teaching about and imposing security measures.

Schools should teach younger and older students alike to have the inner strength to protect themselves instead of teaching them that they can’t take a nail file to school as to not give someone the opportunity to turn it into a weapon is

Teach students to follow their instincts if there is an attack and to live without fear. To be armed with the knowledge in the back of their minds that they are capable of protecting themselves prior to a violent event so that when and if tragedy occurs, they know in the aftermath they did everything they could, instead of being powerless.

Students should have a sense of security and a desire to focus on learning when they enter an educational facility, not the fear that the next person to enter their classroom may be the person who violates their human existence by opening fire.

The measures taken so far are progress, but students should learn that they have more power to control their surroundings than a metal detector can to protect them in the end.

Knowledge is power, and knowledge of self protection can be just as powerful as any man- made weapon. 

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