Dying for education

December 15, 2011



Sherelle Black
Managing Editor


When Virginia Tech experienced the shooting of 33 people in April 2007, I never expected to hear Virginia Tech involved in another shooting incident four years later.


A week ago, Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop. A second gunshot was heard 15-30 minutes after the initial gunshot. The second dead man is believed to be the suspect of the police officer slain.


While this case differs from when Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage in 2007, it still served as a test to see how the school would react in a time of uproar and uncertainty.


Virginia Tech’s communication was far from being effective in 2007, with students not being notified of the shooting nor told to evacuate until several hours later.


After the shooting in 2007, Virginia Tech implemented a new alert system, one that law officials and school officials said worked well from both a technological and communication standpoint during the recent shooting.


During the incident last week, the Virginia Tech community received a total of six alerts, with the first one being within minutes of the first shooting.


Although it is almost impossible to know someone is coming on campus, every university should have procedures and policies in place.


No parent will send his/her child to a campus where their safety is not guaranteed. As a student, regardless of how great of an education a university can offer me, I would not enroll there if I felt unsafe.


It scares me to think that at any moment someone can come on campus and open fire. I realize that no matter what university I attend I will always be at risk, but my mind would be at ease if I knew administrators were doing everything in their power to protect and prevent dangerous incidents from occurring.


I cannot help but wonder is Louisiana Tech’s campus safe enough, do we have effective crisis plans and policies, or will we be left stranded in the middle of an ocean of problems looking for guidance?


With an effective alert system already in place, I am sure if a situation arises, Tech will handle the crisis with the upmost sincerity and care.


Louisiana Tech’s emergency notification system contacts students and faculty in the event of an emergency and potential dangerous situations. Students can be contacted in three ways: on-campus voice call, through email or through text messages.


Under this system, I have always been alerted when to evacuate a building, if the police are looking for someone who has committed a crime or even when bad weather is approaching. The only bad thing about this system is it is not guaranteed that all students will enter their cellphone numbers to be used. Also, many students do not check their emails often enough, which could definitely be a problem if the alerts do not come to their phone.


If all students cooperate and enter their numbers to be used by the system, Louisiana Tech would have one of the most effective alert systems in the country.


While it is unfortunate that Virginia Tech’s has witnessed another shooting, it should be a wakeup call for all schools to make sure that have an effective campus safety policy or to improve their policies.


After all, what is the purpose of an education, if you will not live to apply it?


 Sherelle Black is a junior journalism major from Bossier who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to scb035@latech.edu.


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