Statistically speaking, a college campus is among the safest places one can be. Nevertheless, with an outbreak of violence, such as the one that occurred recently on the campus of UT-Austin, many educators ask, "Could it happen here?" The answer is yes, of course, and community colleges are hardly immune.
Media coverage in the wake of the UT tragedy, which resulted in a suicide but no other casualties, stresses the importance of having a plan for such contingencies. A common thread in college preparedness, based on various reports, is getting the word out about a campus "lock down."
It's clear the cell phone is the way to do it.
At UT, students were alerted within seconds (which argues against insisting that they turn the devices off rather than merely silencing them during class). A lock down also entails keeping students in the classrooms whenever possible until the danger passes, perhaps even locking the door and turning out the lights.
These are strategies best handled by experts. The point is to make sure your school has a plan.
Not surprisingly, during this political campaign season, the Texas prohibition of guns on campus has arisen again as an issue. It's safe to predict that bills will be introduced to allow licensed carriers of concealed weapons on campus. One such measure got close to passage in 2009. Some people think such individuals could shoot a shooter before the person can inflict damage. Others worry about the presence of any guns on campus.
Here are two articles, both in the Dallas Morning News. One is a nice analyisis of the UT shooting by Erin Mulvaney. The other is a discussion of the political issues associated with it, by Robert T. Garrett.