In the Wake of Newtown, CT: Measures that Pratt Takes to Protect Students, Staff, and Faculty
Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:17 pm
The tragedy in Newtown, CT, has left many of us here at Pratt heartbroken. Because of questions I've recieved from many of you, I know that parents are concerned about the well being and safety of their students at Pratt, particularly in the wake of this tragedy. While we hope there is never such an incident here at Pratt, it is important nevertheless to be prepared. I asked Bill Schmitz, Director of Safety and Security, to give me a rundown of preventative measures taken here. Here are my questions and his response.
Me: What preventative measures are in place here at Pratt in case of a campus shooting? What should parents tell their students to do in case there is a shooter on campus?
Bill Schmitz: Well, being an open campus makes preventing violence more challenging; however we are aware of this. We constantly train our staff to be aware of suspicious activity that would possibly indicate that someone was planning an attack. We instruct our officers on the kind of information gathering or activities that someone developing a plan for such an act might be engaged in. Immediately after each of these mass shootings we remind our staff to be extra alert and discuss the techniques used by the latest shooter.
Our main course of action should such an incident occur would be to call 911. This would bring an overwhelming police and ESU response within in moments if not seconds. Our staff, although not armed, are trained to assist people in getting to safety and to meet and assist responding emergency agencies.
In terms of what should students do in the event of an active shooter, the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School appear to have responded in a text book fashion. Current training for responding to such shootings tells people to find a secure place (room) to lock themselves in, turn out lights, turn off cell phones, hide in the room or behind heavy furniture, and remain quiet. The intention here is to make the room or space to appear unoccupied. And, it is also taught that if one feels there is nothing they can do to secure themselves in a room adequately, and they feel it is possible to make a safe run for it, then it is advised to run away from the gun shots toward where ever feels safe. Keep in mind that they should always keep their hands visible in the event they encounter police officers along the way so the police will not consider the student a threat to them.
As for preventive measures, again training and awareness of staff, access control such as turnstiles and swipe access at buildings, and visibility of security officer on and around campus all serve as preventive measures. We also use other measures that I don’t like to divulge for the sake of giving away other methods we use for operational integrity.
I hope you share this information with your student, and I would like to thank you for the role you play in helping to keep students safe. Should you have further questions, don't hesitate to contact me directly at email@example.com.
Written by Meredith Crain, Coordinator of Parent and Family Programs