By Victoria Alvarez
On Wed., Feb. 14, a lone gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. The mass shooting caused the tragic death of 17 students and faculty members of the school. In the wake of the event, the Lynn community shared their thoughts and condolences that go out to the victims, their family members, and all the students, teachers and staff.
As the country mourns and honors the victims of the event, it is a time to think through the safety precautions and resources available to Lynn students and employees.
In the event of an emergency on campus, Lynn has protocols and procedures set in place to alleviate risk and harm on campus.
“Lynn has sound safety procedures on campus,” said Anthony Altieri, Vice President of Student Affairs. “Safety is a community responsibility and we have professionals that are well-trained and prepared to deal with crisis situations within our community.”
These well-trained individuals make up Lynn’s Department of Campus Safety, an office comprised of 33 professionals who are dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment for students, faculty and guests.
“We believe in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst,” said Larry Rickard, Campus Safety Chief. “Campus Safety actively runs trainings every academic year to ensure that our entire campus community gives advance thought to how each of us should immediately respond if we ever have an ‘active shooter’ on campus.”
Campus Safety has prepared certain emergency systems, such as the Mass Notification System, to serve as alert alarm systems in the event of a campus crisis. In an urgent or dangerous situation, students and faculty would hear the sounding of an alarm on campus, along with further instructions and information.
The alert system includes an outdoor public address system, an indoor public notification system with flashing lights, and text, email and voicemail notifications. Students and employees can also opt their emergency contacts into Lynn’s emergency notifications.
However, in an effort to ensure the entire Lynn community is prepared and informed for a possible crisis, there are also available active shooter trainings on campus. These trainings serve as info sessions so that a member of the Lynn community can know what to do in the unlikely event that an “active shooter” enters campus. Several departments at Lynn have taken part in the trainings, and such trainings have been offered to student residents that live on campus, but they are also provided by Campus Safety upon request for those who are interested.
“The basic principles of personal and community safety are always present. We have protocol and procedures in place but our ultimate goal is to be proactive in spreading awareness to mitigate the possibility of that ever happening,” said Altieri.
With this ideology in mind, Campus Safety believes that prevention and education are vital to maintaining a safe community.
“Prevention is the best possible scenario, and vigilance in sharing potentially relevant information is the basis of prevention,” said Rickard. “Faculty, staff, students, parents, counselors, and Campus Safety are in the best position to identify and react to warning signs; such as violent messages in papers and student projects, social media, direct threats and even rumors like whether someone has a weapon on campus.”
Members of the Lynn community are encouraged to submit an easy-to-use, online form if they ever feel troubled or uncertain about another person’s mental health, emotional stability or even risky behavior. This form, the Concerned Person Report, is completely anonymous and can be submitted by anyone on campus.
After the report is filled out and turned in, the issue is always assessed by professional staff members. The goal of these reports are to deescalate the situation and give the reported individual the help or support that they may need.
“I know that staff, students and other members sometimes have these types of caring concerns but are unsure what or how to pass the issue on to the appropriate professionals,” said Gary Martin, Dean of Students. “The CPR is the intake process we use at Lynn. That said, If the matter is truly urgent—the concerned person or reporter should still be encouraged to immediately contact: Campus Safety at 561-237 -7226 –’ 911’ – or my office at 561-237-7230.”
Lynn aims to maintain a safe environment in which all members of the community are informed and prepared. For more information about Lynn’s safety protocols and available programs, visit https://my.lynn.edu/ICS/LifeatLynn/Campus_Safety_and_Security.jnz