Student preparedness key in campus gun conflicts

One in four campuses were not deemed prepared for an active shooter situation, according to a recent opinion survey by Campus Safety, an online magazine focused on university safety programs.

And while President Barack Obama is calling on public schools and universities to create emergency management plans, experts say student preparedness is key to surviving an active shooter situation.

“Nobody teaches people to respond to active shooters,” said Chris Grollnek, a retired Texas police officer and co-founder of Countermeasure Consulting Group, LLC, which helps organizations prepare for situations such as an active shooter.

*Hide: * – Close blinds and block windows – Barricade the door with anything but yourself – Don’t huddle together but spread out and stay out of view – Quietly discuss actions should the shooter enter – Silence cell phones

Act: – Keep moving if in sight of the shooter – Have the mind set that you will survive – Be decisive on if you will fight and quietly discuss with those you are with if you will coordinate

“Where do you run? Who do you run with? What if your friends are yelling for help?”

Grollnek said student training is essential to dealing with active shooter situations on campus, and not doing practicing puts excessive pressure on professors to protect potentially ill-equipped students from harm.

Obama signed an executive action requiring school officials to create emergency management plans last week.

About 84 percent of public schools and universities had a written active shooter response plan, but only 52 percent had students practice the plan in the past year, such as MSU did during the summer, according to a 2010 survey from the White House.

In a previous interview with The State News, university spokesman Kent Cassella said MSU has set plans in case of a campus shooting. Officials declined giving details for safety reasons.

University spokesman Jason Cody said MSU has many ways to alert students of an incident or shooting on campus, but he wasn’t aware of any specific university active shooter training program for students.

He said it is possible students participate in discussion or receive training during academic orientations.

An academic orientation representative did not respond to requests for information by press time Tuesday.

MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said student groups can schedule special training sessions with police.

Tips on how to handle a campus shooting are available online at

Click here to view a training video and slideshow to prepare for an on-campus shooting.

The MSU police website advises students to keep moving if in the presence of the shooter, barricading the door when not in the presence of the shooter and not huddling with other individuals in the barricaded room.

Food industry management junior Matthew Browner said student preparedness is especially important after a reported shooting Tuesday on the Lone Star College System campus, about 20 miles north of Houston.

Browner said he was concerned administrators reportedly were telling students to get to safety during the incident, rather than educating students beforehand.

Browner said he never received any training on how to react to an active shooter situation.
“It would definitely reduce confusion on how to respond,” Browner said.

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