Keeping students safe on campus

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — There have been 15 shootings at schools around the country this year where someone was hurt or killed; four on university campuses.

It led to the question what plans are in place in case of an active shooter on college campuses around Central Illinois? Students say they don’t know what to do if a shooting happens at their school.

Both Parkland and UI Police say they have plans in place to protect everyone on their campuses.  

“Because it’s been so common, I think it would be safer if we all know exactly what to do if there was a shooter,” Jack Thain says.

Jack Thain is a freshman at Parkland College.

When asked if he knew what to do if put in an active shooter situation, he said no but he wants to know.

“I think we should be more aware of what the exact protocol is,” Thain says.

Both Parkland and UI have extensive plans for this very situation. The most important part is to work quickly.

“Every second does count when you have an active shooter, an active threat situation. Keeping in mind that every second you do not take a proactive response increases your probability of being a victim,” Todd Short says.

Both schools use procedures from those who know best.

“Which are based on the Department of Homeland Security recommendations of run, hide, fight if a situation presents itself to you,” Short says.

But Parkland adds a little more to its plan.

“We endorse the run, hide, fight training but specifically we endorse the A.L.I.C.E. training,” William Colbrook says.

A.L.I.C.E. stands for alert- lockdown- inform- counter- evacuate. For students like Thain, the fact these crimes are so common doesn’t sit well with him.

“It’s in the back of your mind when you’re trying to focus on growing and learning,” Thain says.

Lieutenant Todd Short with the UI Police says, he understands school shootings are traumatic.

“It’s okay to be shaken by these events. That’s a normal human reaction to an abnormal event,” Short explains.

“It’s incredibly important for people to think about their emergency response plan ahead of time.”

Parkland Police Chief William Colbrook says you should have a plan outside the classroom too.

“I tell them to have a personal plan for survival,” Colbrook says.

Both departments say if there is an active shooter it takes everyone’s help. They reach out to all area law enforcement and support from the fire department also. They come together once a year to train.

There have been three shootings on school campuses in the last nine days. One happened outside a fraternity house at the University of Oregon; two were just this week, one at a high school in Colorado and the other at Savannah State University in Georgia. 

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