What Would Agnes Do?

On Wednesday, February 15, Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 students and teachers in what is now known as the second most deadly school shooting in U.S. history. Students and survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to Florida’s capital in Tallahassee to witness the bill that would have avenged their fellow classmates. Despite their efforts to bring about change in gun law legislation, change seems very far off. Less than a week later on the following Tuesday, February 21, Florida lawmakers voted 36 to 71, not in favor of banning assault rifles.

Image via NB6

Gun control legislation seems to be a very far-fetched approach for bringing any change in our political climate. Therefore, I decided to take a more local approach by gathering information from our campus police department to see what they might do in a similar situation.

The Agnes Scott Public Safety Police Department, better known as Public Safety, has certified officers through the state of Georgia who have experience in the Decatur, Atlanta, MARTA and Marietta police departments, according to their annually distributed safety report, Community Guide to Playing it Safe. In this same guide, efforts described to alert students, staff, and faculty in the event of an unsafe occurrence, including the event of an active shooter, are shared through a mass notification system. One of the most common forms is through email notification, which is tested regularly, and via text message. Anyone with an ASC email account can receive email notifications, however, you have to have a text-message enabling device to receive text messages. Below is a list of likely incidents in which the college will use the system, as described in the Community Guide to Playing it Safe:

  • Facility Emergencies (Fire or Explosions, Power Outages)

  • Campus Evacuations

  • Dangerous Weather Conditions (Tornado, Flooding)

  • Violent Criminal Behavior (Murder, Robbery, Active Shooter)

  • Off-campus incidents that may have an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees (Chemical or Hazardous Material Spills or Accidents, Violent Criminal Behavior)

Image via agnesscott.edu

From this listing, there are well thought-out precautions for any kind of hazardous situation, including one involving an active shooter, that may affect the safety of students, staff, faculty, and visitors alike. However, there were likely similar protocols for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Therefore, we may never know how effective this will be unless there is an occurrence on our campus. So what is the solution to ensure quality safety in relation to guns and armed persons?

Some people argue that the solution lies in stricter gun control policies and legislation. Some people argue that it is the person behind the gun. In this case, we know what Agnes would do in a case like Parkland. But would these precautions be effective? Or would our campus be another hashtag in the news? And if not, how do we approach the problem and come up with effective solutions?

Tweet via @kweenkengrie

In recent news, the school officer at the Parkland high school during the shooting has resigned. It is said that he stood outside and did nothing while the shooting took place.

I’d like to leave the comments open for discussion on this topic. My hope in doing this is so that, most importantly, no one else loses their life due to gun violence in a space where they are supposed to feel safe and have their family members mourn, and so that we are all actively seeking solutions.