(From The Campus Lantern – February 27, 2014)
Earlier this week, my dorm hosted an educational program in which residents were taught how to act in active shooter situations. The program was very informational and useful for those who attended. However, it was not mandatory, but a priority point program, so only about thirty or forty students attended from the dorm. It was mentioned that over breaks when there are no students on campus, the campus police department has drills in which they work together with the state police and others to act out active shooter situations so they would know how to react if it happened on campus. An important question that was raised was why Eastern does not have active shooter drills for the students, similar to how we undergo fire drills.
One reason why we may not be able to undergo active shooter drills is because the university does not want to interrupt classes. A seemingly simple solution to this would be to do it on the weekends or on a Monday or Friday when we have a holiday. However, on those days, there are fewer students on campus, so it would not be wholly beneficial to practice it then. Also, it was mentioned during the program that it would be difficult to construct an active shooter drill because it is a day-long practice that involves not only the campus police, but Willimantic and state police also. A solution to this would be to set aside a certain day for the drill, and explain to students what is happening. If students can expect the drill, it may not fully prepare them for an actual situation; but going through the safety procedures would be helpful, regardless. Our lives are priceless; there are no understandable excuses as to why students should not undergo an active shooter drill.