Nine years ago, then-UCLA student Katherine Rosen was stabbed by a classmate in the neck and chest. The injuries she sustained were life-threatening, but she managed to survive and return to school to complete her degree. However, the attack has haunting, and Rosen has been in court fighting for the rights of students to be made aware of potentially dangerous classmates. As of Thursday, the California Supreme Court is in agreement with Rosen: “Public colleges, the court said, have a duty to protect students from foreseeable violence in classrooms and other places where they have ‘curricular’ activities.”
AEGIS Security & Investigations has posted security-based perspectives about recent events with schools across the country, including the Ohio State knife attack in 2016 and the Douglas High School shooting just last month. As a company with expertise on keeping campuses safe, we think it is important to point out the most critical element of the Court’s finding: what campuses should do to ensure their students are protected.
For most people, a terrorist attack to any degree — a local school stabbing to a full-out bomb scare — is shocking. However, not being mentally prepared to handle a situation such as a stabbing or a shooting is the primary fault for many victims. We think this issue for students falls back onto the responsibility of the campus for training and preparedness.
Campuses should start with implementing a campus alert system. See what local colleges like CSUN are doing to ensure their students know what is happening on campus in real-time. The primary goal of an emergency communications team and system is to keep the campus informed.
When a stabbing is reported, like that which Rosen experienced, it should immediately be posted to the campus’ emergency communications system. Students need to be made aware that there is suspicious, illegal and dangerous activity on campus that they should look out for and report if seen. In doing this, the campus community is able to better respond to emergency incidents.
Mass alert systems have been implemented at campuses across the country to enhance emergency communications teams. The biggest advantage to this type of mass notification is that the alert will blanket a majority of the audience intended to be notified. Even if only three phones go off with an emergency notification in every lecture hall on a campus, the thirty students in each hall will likely be notified. Such an outreach is critical to ensuring public safety in a terrorist attack.
Next, campuses need to implement training for students and staff. Emergency response training should not be limited to campus administration as those buildings tend to not host “curricular” activities. Classrooms, labs, auditoriums — these spaces need to have personnel available who are trained to respond and direct others in emergency situations.
AEGIS hosts a slew of trainings to meet various corporate needs, including those of large campus organizations such as colleges. To find your best fit, please visit us here.
In terms of ensuring your campus is prepared for an emergency, seek training immediately. Seek consultation for current trainings to ensure they are up to par given recent events and new research.
Lastly, campuses need to examine their physical security enhancements and determine when and where they should be making upgrades. From adding lighting and emergency call boxes to equipping classrooms with lockdown devices and emergency kits, there is always room for improvement. The bottom line is that California’s laws are changing; prepare your campus to meet and exceed those changes by being proactive in addressing shortfalls with a qualified and experienced security expert.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.