Sunday, May 25, 2014

As I write these words, the community at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the city of Isla Vista are enduring an all to familiar series of events following a tragedy. It begins with shock, horror and bloodshed, followed closely by calls to 911 as Twitter and Facebook traffic spikes. We all know that the days ahead will have, funerals, prayer services, investigations, and a  deep sadness for many.

As a teaching professor, I received instruction at my university about what to do if there is an active shooter on campus. If I hear a sound that I think is a gunshot, I should assume that it is and act immediately to protect my students by leading them to hide, run, or attack the shooter. Ever since I received that advice and viewed the chilling training video, it is in the back of my mind. I am angry because this should not be in my mind at all! My 100% focus needs to be on the students in front of me who I am teaching.

My brother in-law has an administrative position with a school district. He told me recently about a company who has a product that they want him to install in all classrooms. It is a white board that, in a gun battle, can be removed from the wall and provide bulletproof protection for the students. I wonder, is this necessary or is there a better way to bring peace back into our classrooms?

These are the words spoken by those close to this tragedy as reported by ABC NEWS this morning:

  • POLICE: SHOTS FIRED! SHOTS FIRED!
  • FATHER OF A STUDENT: Why did Chris die?
  • STUDENT: I wish all of this was gone.

We need to be seeing news reports with contents like this:

  • PROFESSOR: Good morning, welcome to the first day of classes.
  • FATHER OF A STUDENT: Congratulations Chris, I am so very proud of you.
  • STUDENT: I was accepted to college! I am so happy!

We professors may think, This won’t happen at my college. We live in a safe community. This is not our problem.
Complacency is the enemy.

I call upon all of us in higher education, professors and administrators to work together to do more to prevent future student tragedies. We have good minds, we know how to lead and teach. Let’s discover more ways to eliminate these tragedies and return the institutions of higher education to safe places of learning.

What practices are in place at your college?

How should we approach a solution to this problem?

Please share your comments below.

 

 

Prof. David C. Pecoraro
Co-Founder, The Student Caring Project

Previous research related to this topic: Prevent Student Dying

 

Enough Bloodshed in Higher Ed!

UCSB |  Student Caring | Not One More

COMMUNITY FEEDBACK

Lisa Reagan AUTHOR

Executive Editor at Kindred Magazine

Thank you for sharing your insight as a professor, David. The far-reaching and on-going consequences of school shootings – on the individual and community – need to be examined in the light of day. The appropriate, but horrifying, need to “be prepared” with the training you received, as you say, in your mind at all times, hyping your nervous system and distracting your focus, is an unconscionable burden. For those who may not click on David’s link, at least read this illuminating paragraph. And thank you again for sharing: “As a teaching professor, I received instruction at my university about what to do if there is an active shooter on campus. If I hear a sound that I think is a gunshot, I should assume that it is and act immediately to protect my students by leading them to hide, run, or attack the shooter. Ever since I received that advice and viewed the chilling training video, it is in the back of my mind. I am angry because this should not be in my mind at all! My 100% focus needs to be on the students in front of me who I am teaching.”

Enough Bloodshed in Higher Ed!