Safety should be a priority

Staff Editorial

With the recent school shooting at Mattoon High School, the importance of having safety procedures in place is something that has been brought to the forefront for public consideration.

Kent Martin, chief of the university police department, said in Sept. 19’s meeting of the Faculty Senate that a program educating the community about the principles of A.L.I.C.E., which covers what to do during an active shooting, should be implemented in some form across campus. The acronym stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

He said the lockdown drills many students are accustomed to originated when LA gangs would drive by and shoot into the windows of schools.

“All of us probably remember having the lockdown drills. When something happens lock the door, turn off the lights, be quiet. That was a good practice when the threat was outside the building,” Martin said. “The threat has since moved inside the building and now basically you’re making yourself a sitting duck.”

He mentioned the program would take about two and a half hours to complete.

While some may be hesitant to sacrifice that amount of time even if they are free, it is vital faculty and students alike take the time to make sure they are informed of this safety issue.

Although education in this matter cannot prevent every tragedy from taking place, it can prepare the public in case such a tragedy does take place, to minimize damages.

In fact, people being informed on what to do could even save lives. As a paper, we offer our full support to the implementation of the UPD’s A.L.I.C.E. program.

Mattoon is an integral part of our community. Our student body president, Luke Young, and Derek Pierce, our student body executive vice president, both attended Mattoon High School. They are just a few of the many students and faculty members who are experiencing this tragedy with a personal perspective.

Many others not directly affected feel the sting a school shooter so close to our campus brings. As a community, we should show our support in any way we can. It is in situations like these where we can let fear overcome us or show perseverance and try to find what can be learned from this act of violence.

Violence of this nature seems senseless, and it is appalling people can be driven to stoop so low as to try and terminate others’ lives.

With the shooter in custody, it may appear like the issue is resolved, right?

However, the educational setting is just a microcosm of society. With political turmoil all around us and people’s trust for one another wearing thin, it can be hard to see anything but chaos.

Violence cannot be stopped by stooping to the level of the person responsible for it. However, it may be prevented by people being willing to learn about different views without overreacting with judgement and rage.

We cannot stop others from getting impassioned to the point of violence, but we can show support for reason. We can give you, our readers, both sides of the story and let you make informed decisions.

In these times, accurate information is more vital than ever before. We promise to continue writing stories and trying to create a place where people can find the truth.

To all those affected by the Mattoon High School shooting, we would like to wish you a safe recovery and hope for the safety of all schools to be secure in the future.