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OPINION: Safety concerns impede ability to learn

A Riverside City College student reviews the sparse and inconsistent information regarding policies and procedures during an active shooter incident on campus that RCCD provides on its website on May 10 at RCC. Photo by Stephen Day, Viewpoints.

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A Riverside City College student reviews the sparse and inconsistent information regarding policies and procedures during an active shooter incident on campus that Riverside Community College District provides on its website on May 10 at RCC. (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)
By Maria Odenbaugh

Riverside City College’s administration needs to wake up.

RCC has been my home campus for the last two years. During my time here, I have never received any information on how to properly handle a lockdown situation.

In high school I had multiple drills, infographics and resources available to me about threats we could face. Especially a school shooting. I was prepared, but that was two years ago. The April 18 lockdown made me aware of how badly our school has safety protocols in order. 

 I am a college student in America. I know the threats I could face by just going to class. Sometimes I am not sure if I should be afraid or not when entering campus.

We are at a time in our history where we are expecting the most gun violence, especially at schools. Young students are starting to get loud, get involved to stop this threat. Students just like me who are tired of being afraid are starting to take the initiative to get our government to make the right decision on firearms.

Although I can’t speak for every college student, I can share what I think is necessary for students to feel safe.

The fear many Americans face with school shootings is one that felt by many. Yet, it doesn’t seem like that fear is registering correctly to college administration and officials.

I do not feel safe at RCC if a shooting would occur and here’s why: 

In my time enrolled and attending classes at RCC, I have never received any information from the school about proper safety protocols. I don’t recall any safety measures like a drill, in class presentations or any clarification about RCC’s safety or emergency procedures.

They are there, located on the Riverside Community College District website, however that is not enough. I had to take the initiative to look them up and educate myself.

 RCC also does not make training for an active shooting situation mandatory for faculty. It is offered voluntarily.

The scariest part about this whole situation is that I never know what professor is trained or knows what to do in a life threatening situation.

A majority of our professors are not full-time employees for the college. They are not required to complete any training in general. The people educating and mentoring us are not prepared to help or protect us during an active shooting.

Only one professor has taken the time to discuss this important matter in my time here. 

That’s a sad truth to realize. The District should not have to rely on the professors who realize the threat we face by just attending class.

The way my District and campus security handled the situation on April 18, should act as a wake up call to students and staff. It is time to take the initiative and educate peers and ourselves. The school and District does not have sufficient safety protocols or information available to students.

We need drills, information provided directly from RCC on what to do during a lockdown, not an alert messaging app that alerts us too late.

It seems simple to be in a lockdown, when they tell us shelter-in-place. I was fortunate to have a professor who after the lockdown did explain how to properly lock the doors and what actions are needed. Shelter-in-place means more than locking the door and closing the blinds.

I would feel safer if drills and information were provided to students directly from the school and properly trained facualty. 

I leave you with this, the people in charge need to be aware of the fear students, especially in the United States, face everyday by simply wanting to learn. Students feeling like campus is a safe place should be top priority for RCCD.

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