The United States has had an alarming number of school shootings and the year has just begun.
According to Snopes.com, In the first 23 days of January, 11 school-related shootings have been reported in the nation. As of now, Feb 21, there have seven more making that 18 since the year has began. While most of the shootings were nonfatal, there were students who died or were injured from these shootings. The shootings have taken place in nine different states: Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arizona, Washington, North Carolina, California, Maryland,Florida, New York, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan, at various elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges.
The shootings have taken place in classrooms, bathrooms, common areas and even on a school bus and ranged from attacks to suicides. The most severe shooting was the one that took place in Parkland, FL leaving 17 dead and many others injured.
All of these shootings happening so closely together, with four happening in one day, have caused national concern, blaming gun laws. The Huffington Post reported that the gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety claims that America is averaging at about one school shooting per week.
The shootings that took place at colleges Wake Forest University, California State University, Grayson College and Wiley College hit home for the students of Brenau University, who are concerned that they could be next. Senior mass communication major Kenya Hunter said, “It’s extremely sad that lives were lost to senseless violence in a place where we go to learn and more importantly, where we should be safe. I’m really glad that Brenau doesn’t allow open or concealed carry.”
One major thing Brenau University, being private, not mandated to follow state law and an open campus, has done since the House Bill 280, which allows concealed carry at public universities, passed in July 2017 is fill the campus with no weapon signs outside of all buildings, dorm rooms and outside areas.
Although no actual shooting has occurred at Brenau, there was an incident involving a gun. According to multiple student reports, On Dec. 8, 2017, two young men waved and pointed a gun at a student. No one was hurt in this incident.
Brenau Security has since put forth a plan of action since the change in law and the incident.
Paula Dampier, Brenau’s Director of Campus Security, explained that although campus security isn’t armed, they are well prepared to handle any situation involving a shooter on campus. “If something like that was to happen at Brenau, the biggest thing for security to do is to contain the shooter to one location and to alert everyone via E2 campus alerts,” she said. “From there, the law enforcements would be contacted because they are the first responders in situations of this matter.”
Dampier says that containing and alerting stops more people from coming toward the situation and reduces panic. In addition to containing the situation, she has held faculty-wide active shooter presentations to prepare faculty if there was a shooter on campus. She made a point to say that location has everything to do with how you respond, so if you can run, run, but if not, try to hide. Dampier ended with, “Your absolute last resort is to fight back, but it should be avoided at all costs.”
For more information about Brenau’s safety precautions, go to brenau.edu/security.