La Roche University’s Active Shooter Protocol

By: Luke Schultheis, Layout and Sports Editor, and Max Robinette, Associate Editor

Nine hundred and forty-eight school shootings have occurred since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

The Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) states that 52 active shooters have intruded on school campuses. The number of victims has increased each year, with 27 killed in 2020, 42 killed in 2021, and 50 killed in 2022. 

In late June, President Biden passed a bill that “provides more funding for mental health services and school security.” 

The bill additionally expands criminal background checks. 

Often, shooters are students who have access to improperly stored weapons at home. Students make up 43% of the school shooter population, according to the CHDs.

La Roche University’s Public Safety page details what to do if an active shooter were on campus:

  • According to the Emergency Management Reference Guide, victims should first call Public Safety. If the line is overwhelmed, they should call 911. 
  • Callers should identify their specific location, the number of people they’re with, and the identity/physical appearance of the active shooter. 
  • Next, they should lock down whatever room they’re in and remain silent until the police arrive. The area should not be unsecured until authorities apprehend the shooter.

Director of Public Safety Mark Wilcox said, “These [rules] should be posted in every room on campus.”

La Roche Dean of Students David Day said he would prioritize student evacuation in a campus-shooter crisis.

“I would try to get as many people as possible out of the buildings,” he said. “Depending on where the threat came from, I would try to send people out in a different direction.”

La Roche’s safety protocols fall in line with the FBI’s Active Shooter Safety Resources. Students learn the agency’s “Run. Hide. Fight.” guidelines during orientation.

The bureau suggests that students should first attempt to run away from an active shooter environment. If escaping isn’t an option, students should hide in classrooms, locking and barricading all doors, and wait for police or other responders to arrive.

If students can’t run or hide from an active shooter, fighting becomes the last safety resort. The agency recommends coordinating an assault on the shooter with multiple people in order to incapacitate or disarm them.

Ever since Sandy Hook, federal agents have had jurisdiction in any active shooter scenario. The privilege comes as a response to the increasing regularity with which shooting incidents occur.

According to Pew Research Center, 57% of teens say they worry about a shooter coming to their school. Studies have also found that the prevalence of school shootings may affect classroom performance and academic enrollment.

According to an article by Journalist Resource, “School shootings are associated with increased spending of $248 per pupil, on average. Schools spend this money primarily on capital projects such as building repairs and security upgrades and on student support services such as mental health and psychological services.”

While the impacts of school shootings are felt across the country, some students at La Roche believe the school would not be a target for a mass shooter.

“I’ve never thought about it,” sophomore Kamron Williams said. “It’s kind of in that mindset of, ‘That’s ridiculous, it would never happen here.’”

“It doesn’t come to mind on a daily basis,” senior Hannah Brown said. “They told us what to do in orientation – ‘Run. Hide. Fight.’. But when these shootings happen, they are on everyone’s mind. But then it goes away for a while, then something happens, and we think about it again.”

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