Va. Tech echoesWritten by Autumn Lee | | email@example.com
As the mother of a college student who lives on a college campus and a sad witness to the tragedy that struck the Virginia Tech campus last week, there is something about the situation that just does not make sense. Either it isn’t being reported correctly or we may have some definitively misplaced priorities on college campuses.
I’ve read on several occasions the discussion of the reason and defense of the decision not to put the information out to the Va. Tech student body following the first murders, in the hours available before the killer struck again. I’ve read stories about other colleges reconsidering safety policies.
Does this boil down to whether this was perceived as an event is worthy of disrupting classes? We reasonably expect, as parents, that the college we select for our children will use a minimum standard of care when making decisions or policies regarding their physical safety. I’ve sent for the policy from the college my daughter is attending — because apparently we do have to ask these questions.
Historically, it has not been a question on the college tour check list of the rational person, when selecting a college with their child, whether the college equates the inconvenience of the disruption of classes as equivalent to the physical safety of our children.
If this is a common discussion going on at college campuses in the United States, I can settle the matter right now. If there have been murders on campus and the murderer/s is/are on the loose, lock down the campus. Do it swiftly — do it without question — and do it every time.
Use weather sirens — use the public address system — use everything at your disposal. Tell the students to secure themselves in the closest room with a lock, immediately. How is this difficult to understand? Wouldn’t an inconvenient false alarm be preferable to this —anywhere? At any time? Do colleges still drill the student body to be prepared for emergencies?
In retrospect, it is evident to me that this was handled improperly. There can be no rational connection between the inconvenience of interrupting classes and the physical safety of students. I am sure that the administration at Va. Tech. and particularly the deciding party who opted not to communicate with the students regrets that decision.
But how can there be any questions about what the policy should be in this circumstance? Dead students + killer on the loose = complete/campuswide lock down.
We want campus administrators to put our students’ safety first. We want them to make this their highest priority. Human life is far more valuable than the inconvenience of having to reschedule classes due to a security emergency — even for a false alarm.
If I were the parent of a student killed in the second group of shootings at Va. Tech, I would have great difficulty accepting the statement that this college did not want to interrupt classes and they ‘thought’ they knew where the killer was.
KATE BOYD, Toledo