On October 1, a gunman shot and killed nine students at Umpqua Community College, Oregon, injuring 10 others. He then shot himself.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, we’re becoming accustomed to this tragic ritual. In fact, President Obama addressed a grieving nation in the aftermath of a school shootings 15 times in the last seven years.
So the question is always in the back of our minds: What would happen at Hesston College in the event of a school shooting? While Hesston College administrators have safety procedures in place, they aren’t the only ones who should be thinking about campus safety.
“Students should practice drills with a sense of realism and make sure they know the procedures and where they would go or what they would do in different settings around campus,” Brent Brockmueller, Resident Director said.
Those procedures, initiated by Hesston College’s Crisis Management Team and Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, move the entire campus through a series of steps for building lock-down. Heidi Zehr, campus RD, knows the procedure well.
“Hesston has an alert system that can send out messages to the entire campus through text and email that would be utilized in this situation,” Zehr said. “Each building has a point person that locks all the outside doors and then continues to lock doors within the building.”
The Hesston College Crisis Management Team, headed by Rob Ramseyer, Athletic Director and Vice President for Student Development, is regularly assessing – and reassessing – campus safety.
“They help plan and prepare for drills and then review the feedback afterwards,” Ramseyer said. This team’s goal is to improve our response as a college to any scenario that we may come across.”
Ramseyer admits that developing procedures and drilling can only get us so far.
“No matter how well we plan and drill, no one can predict for certain how well their plan will work and how people will react in a serious emergency situation,” he said. “We continue to pray that we never have to find out.”