COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The attack at Ohio State University once again sparked concern over emergency plans instated in schools and colleges across the nation.
Run, hide, fight is an initiative started by the Department of Homeland Security. It’s something local colleges have adopted. FOX21 spoke with Colorado College safety officials about their protocols for situations like this.
We spoke with John Lauer, the Associate Vice President for Student Life. Lauer has two kids who go to college at CC and another one who just had her admissions interview, so keeping students safe is more than just a job for him. He said they try not to get too scripted, and the main approach they take focuses on all possible hazards, since every situation is going to be different.
“The biggest thing we want people to be able to do is have mentally just thought through, ‘What might I do if something unfortunate happened?’” Lauer said. “That helps you mentally rehearse and be prepared to take action versus freeze and potentially not know what to do.”
Cards are provided in every building and classroom with information on what to do in situations ranging from a fire to an active shooter.
“The message that Ohio State sent out, the ‘Run, Hide, Fight,’ those are basically, if you think through those things and you’re facing a situation and you make a choice, then just act,” Lauer said.
CC has a campus-wide alert system similar to Ohio State’s. All current students, faculty and staff automatically get a text, email or voice call when something potentially dangerous happens. The message goes out when the Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management finds it necessary.
“We have a partnership with Colorado Springs Police Department because our Campus Safety are not police officers, so they are going to be the eyes and ears and then Campus Safety is going to step out,” said Lauer.
Students in the Ohio State attack seemed to be well-practiced and informed on what to do. Lauer said thanks to their Bystander Intervention Program, he is confident the staff and students at CC would be too.
“It’s called BADASS: Be aware, decide to act, and say something,” Lauer said. “So this idea of how we help each other stay safe, how we take action in circumstances, to protect one another, I think is very much ingrained in our students and how they care about each other and respond.”
We also talked to a couple of school districts in Colorado Springs. Each one has their own protocols. Most of them follow similar guidelines. Both District 11 and District 3 put faculty and staff through training, plus they run school-wide drills several times a year.
District 11 has emergency plans for varying situations, from evacuation, lockdown, and sheltering in place. Most elementary and middle schools in District 11 are always locked down, which just means all exterior doors are kept locked and visitors must be allowed in with a pass. If an attack like the one at Ohio State happened, that’s when they would shelter in place.
Widefield District 3 follows the Standard Response Protocol, which is used by thousands of schools around the country. It involves four actions: lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter. It focuses on specific language used for each situation that’s useful and easy for all ages to remember.
If a scary situation were to happen at your child’s school, your best bet is making sure you follow the district on Facebook or Twitter or have easy access to the school’s website. Also, have a conversation with your child about their school’s safety procedures and make sure they know what they’re supposed to do.