FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In the wake of another university shooting – this time at UCLA – campus violence is very much on the minds of students and their parents.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, many say worries about campus violence have become part of the college search protocol.
At UCLA on Wednesday, authorities said Mainak Sarkar shot and killed William Klug, a 39-year-old engineering professor and father of two, before killing himself.
And for students everywhere, the thought of an active shooter is terrifying. And parents said they have to ask how colleges prepare for an active shooter.
“I’m concerned about security at the dorms,” said Jennifer Reda, the mother of a student. “We all know the kids wedge the doors open, don’t close the windows — and I don’t know how well they can be protected when that happens.”
Parents want to know — do schools conduct active shooter drills? Do classroom doors lock?”
At UCLA, students were told to shelter in place as they desperately tried to secure doors — using ropes and makeshift barricades.
“Our doors open outward, so it was very hard to try to lock it because it didn’t have a lock,” said UCLA student Lauren Robinson.
Retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executive Matt Horace said schools should “reconsider their entire security posture.”
Horace said many older college buildings have doors that do not lock. He said that needs to be rethought.
“If the door doesn’t lock, find a way to barricade the door, tie the door, do whatever you have to do to make sure that a threat cannot come into that space that you’re in,” Horace said. “A lock would help that.”
Also to be considered is whether campus security is armed. Farmingdale State College on Long Island has an armed police force patrolling and manning dorms.
Alerts are also sent directly to students phones at Farmingdale. Campus bells can also morph into emergency announcements, and there is a backup if staff can’t type in alerts.
“We can call the emergency number, and about six of us have that number,” said Farmingdale State College digital media director Kathryn Greene.
And students at Farmingdale are urged to school themselves in the basic responses to an active shooter – run and hide, and if there is no choice, fight.
“If you can run, that’s the most important thing. Just get out, and get as far from the situation as you can. If you’re trapped, hide – closets, barricades. If the person is coming through the door, grab the fire extinguisher and do what you’ve’ got to do – fight,” said Farmingdale State College Assistant Police Chief Dan Daugherty.
Now, schools will no doubt be installing locks on older classroom and office doors, and even electronic entry systems. But experts say that will not help when so often, an active shooter is from within the school community.
UCLA said on its campus, “All doors were designed to be compliant with building and life safety codes, and we will evaluate whether changes are appropriate as we continue to assess campus safety.”