The past month has been turbulent for educational institutes across the U.S. amidst the Stoneman Douglass High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14 that killed 17.
For many, the shooting was a wake-up call and has caused parents and students nationwide to question the safety of schools.
On Feb. 13, a student pulled a knife in State Hall on members of The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). The student who pulled the knife was recorded by BAMN organizers saying discriminatory statements about immigrants living in the U.S illegally.
“It concerns me that even on a secure campus it is still very easy to bring a dangerous weapon that could end my life before any of the patrolling officers could get to me,” said first-year WSU student Peter Fargo. “I try not to think of the possibility because there really isn’t anything I could do.”
WSU Police Chief Anthony Holt said WSU Police are trained and well-equipped to respond to a school shooting or stop a potential school shooting from occurring.
“The WSUPD has a cooperative working relationship with the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police and other criminal justice entities, including federal law enforcement agencies,” said WSU Police Chief Anthony.
“I would like to see more emphasis on the consequences of bringing dangerous weapons to campus, as well as hear more about it on orientation day,” said Fargo.
Jared Gold, a WSU sophomore, said he is more concerned about the dangers of the city outside of campus than campus itself.
“I feel relatively safe at Wayne State,” said Gold. “I feel like the surrounding city poses more of a safety hazard than the campus.”
Thinking about the threat of a school shooting can be hard to swallow and a cause for anxiety in many. WSU has a designated crisis management team that continually updates their crises plans; the crisis management team has created 19 plans for different situations, including a shooting, a bomb threat, a power outage and other crisis scenarios. Additionally, the crisis management team conducts simulations with WSUPD to ensure the department is prepared for a severe threat.
The university is also providing free emergency preparation sessions for students and staff on March 8 and March 16. These classes will provide information on how to stay safe if there is an active shooter present.
WSU also sends text alerts in the event of emergencies that students can sign up at wayne.edu/safety.
Despite WSU’s effort to be prepared for various threats, there are some students who have ideas they believe will improve campus safety.
Anna Stone, a first-year student at WSU said, “I would like to see more restricted access to Wayne State’s buildings so the public can’t enter whenever.”
Alvaro Herrera, a third-year student at WSU said he wants to see more school-wide meetings to address the feeling of anxiety that he and many of his friends feel about their safety.
“I would like to see more town hall-style meetings. A lot of people have different opinions and perspectives and we can learn from each other,” said Herrera.
Herrera added that having more town hall meetings could be very beneficial for any misconceptions about the school's safety and can make the student body feel less anxious.