Story by Madi Zick
Photo courtesy of Rose State
Students huddled together. Calling and texting loved ones to inform them about what’s going on. Silence throughout the halls. These actions occur when there is a lockdown in schools today. With recent events in the media, people are wondering: What is the next step?
At Rose State, many precautions are being taken to make sure that everyone is prepared for a school shooting.
“Rose State College takes safety and security of the students, faculty and staff as a number [one] priority,” Tamara Pratt, vice president of external affairs and marketing.
Pratt discussed the presence of Rose State security and how they are available 24/7, along with contracts with the Midwest City Police Department, to have officers on campus.
Pratt explained how there is a designated individual for the coordination of safety and security. That designated individual is Joedon Hughes. Hughes is the new safety, security and risk manager at Rose State. Previously he was a commander in the military, served for nine years and has a certification through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with more than 300 hours of training. Hughes’ plan for Rose State is to have one unified safety plan to guarantee that everyone is on the same page.
“A huge priority right now is the emergency response plan; the program that we have in place right now is under heavy review,” Hughes said. “I would like to see more feedback and training available to faculty, staff and students.”
One of the many opportunities that Rose State has provided for the students and staff to participate in was the discussion panel for school safety held earlier this semester.
At the panel they discussed “the opportunity for all schools in Oklahoma to invite the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, School Security Institute to visit their campus and provide an in-depth review of policies, procedures, plans, team-building and a facility assessment,” according to Jackie Wright, professor of Emergency Management.
Wright said the question of “Run, Hide, Fight” or “Detect, Deter, Defend” arose at the panel. If a dangerous situation presents itself, people must choose one of the options discussed as their initial response. The first response people should have if in danger is to run away. If there is no way to run away and escape, the next option is to hide. Then, if neither of those options is available, the next thing to do is to fight. The time for questions from the audience eased some parents from the burden of worrying.
Rose State is ensuring everyone is prepared in case of an emergency, and will be “providing a series of training programs that deal with such issues as a campus shooter, fire emergencies, hazardous weather drills and training on a variety of safety and security-related scenarios,” Pratt said.
Rose State will hold a live shooter demonstration during the morning of April 12, along with other training programs.
However, in a true active shooter situation, Rose State students can be notified with Raider Alerts from the college by signing up through the Raider RAVE alert system. Students can access this online and through Raider social media accounts to receive emergency updates on campus. This helps to ensure that everyone is informed and ready in case a disaster strikes.
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