In light of the recent random acts of violence that schools across the nation have been encountering, students at Sam Houston State University get a lesson of safety from the University Police Department.
With most of the recent violent attacks that have been in the media happening at the high school level, UPD said violent attacks can happen anywhere, and it is our responsibility to know how to handle the situation properly.
“The first thing a student needs to do in a violent situation is to call the police and let them know what is going on,” said Captain Kevin Morris, a 12-year veteran of the UPD. “Our officers are no more than two-three minutes away.”
While officers with the UPD undergo much training for situations like these, Morris says knowledge of how to handle the situation properly before the police get there is the key to creating the safest environment as possible.
“We go through rigorous training such as active shooter training,” said Morris. “We have an emergency response plan that would go into effect immediately after being contacted.” As the most natural instinct is to run, Morris says that students should remain as calm as possible in order accommodate the assailant, so no greater danger will occur.
“If a situation like this was to happen in a building on campus, the instructors would secure their doors so the assailant could not enter their classrooms,” Morris said. “There is only a small glass opening on the doors for a reason. This allows added safety to the students.”
Acting as a “small city,” Morris says SHSU is a safer school than most since we have dedicated entrances and exists not only in the buildings, but also on the roads that lead in and out of campus.
“We try to help people out before they come to a decision to act out in such a rash way,” Morris said. “We have all sorts of means of crisis intervention that can be confidential if needed. Faculty and staff all have access to helping their students by listening to their students needs and helping them find answers to problems that are bothering them.”
While many programs on campus can help troubled students find help, the clinical psychology department says that they try to help students who have dealt with life altering problems and help counsel students who have gone through traumatic events such as school violence.
“We steer away from labeling and stereotyping therapy,” said Edwina Reece, who is working on her doctorate in psychology. “We do therapy and assessment and we deal mainly with the aftermath of a violent situation.”
While most SHSU students feel safe in class, some students say by adding more police officers to the campus students would be safer.
“I think that more visible police officers around campus would add greater safety to the students,” said junior Torri Bradley. “The officers should not only be in their cars but also walking around the campus.”