Thursday, June 26, 2008

Throw the book (or video) at him 

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed this week (temp link; permalink for subscribers) discusses "survival training for campus shootings." Seems about time, yes? So what are they recommending?

...some campus-safety experts say colleges must better prepare those who do not wear badges. In April the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators published "The IACLEA Blueprint for Safer Campuses," in response to the Virginia Tech incident. The group recommended that colleges train students and faculty and staff members in how to respond to such emergencies. Among the training methods it recommends are residence-life programs, orientation sessions, and print and digital materials.

Although colleges everywhere have developed training programs for their employees, many stop short of asking students to think through how they might react if they heard gunshots in their building.

That's a mistake, says Randy Spivey. "Since Virginia Tech, there's been a lot of focus on law-enforcement response strategies and notification procedures," he says, "but very little on what to do if you're that person in the event."

"[R]residence-life programs, orientation sessions, and print and digital materials" to do what? Let's go to the taskforce report. I see twenty points, most of which deal with what the campus security forces should do. Under a heading "Prevention and Education Programs to
Address Campus Safety Risks" is point 19, as close as we get:
Faculty, staff and students should be trained on how to respond to various emergencies and about the notification systems that will be used. This training should be delivered through a number of delivery options, such as in-person presentations (i.e., residential life programming; orientation sessions for students and employees); Internet-based delivery; and documents.
Give them another training, it appears. So what is two paragraphs later? As an "ancillary issue",
IACLEA does not support the carry and concealment of weapons on a college campus, with the exception of sworn police officers in the conduct of their professional duties.
They follow this with a position statement (on page 12 of the report) making it clear they don't want students with guns, using the claims that students would accidentally discharge their weapons "where large numbers of students are gathered or at student gatherings where alcohol or drugs are being consumed, as well as the potential for guns to be used as a means to settle disputes between or among students." And, they argue, in a situation where an active shooter was present, the campus police could have problems distinguishing between the bad guy and the student with a permitted weapon acting in defense.

Instead, they want students to get training videos (watch the trailer and ask, do you want this in your child's dorm orientation?) and pamphlets. They also want (point 16) criminal background checks on all students, faculty and staff,and to have "behavioral assessment teams" including public safety officials to decide in advance which student is potentially a threat to campus (point 17). Qui custodiet custodiens?
Photo courtesy Joel Rosenberg, who really needs to comment on this.

Labels: ,