The Beginning of a Movement

I don’t have any kids of my own, but I do have twin sisters that are 17 years old. The school shootings that have plagued campuses across the country have become a topic of regular conversation for me and my sisters.

They complain about how they can’t sit in their cars during lunch anymore, how they now have to permanently weigh down their necks with a lanyard holding their student ID and how class time is disrupted with lockdown, bomb threat and active shooter drills. But they understand why.

They understand that school administration needs to know exactly where they are at all times, so that they can quickly be marked present in the event of a tragedy. They understand that their student ID gets them into secure wings of their campus while allowing faculty to identify them as students and not visitors or strangers to the campus.

They understand how important it is to pay attention during the repetitive drills that attempt to ingrain life-saving movements into their bodies so that if the time ever comes, they know exactly what to do.

At the time of this writing, the country continues to mourn the deaths of students and faculty at schools around the country including the 17 killed and 12 injured in the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The shooting, which took place on Feb. 14, was the eighteenth instance of gun violence on or near a school in 2018 and followed similar incidents at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., where two students were killed, and an incident in Italy, Texas, where a student was shot in front of her classmates in the cafeteria of the high school. The massacre in Parkland, however, was the most deadly.

The shooting in Parkland has sparked campus security debates across the country, with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas leading the charge. These students, the same age as my sisters, demand to be heard, expressing their pain, anguish and complete disappointment in their governing system by passionately advocating for gun control, calling for better implementation of background checks, restrictions for those with mental illness and raising the legal age to purchase a firearm. All of this, so they can feel protected in what should be one of the safest places on Earth—a school.

It is up to us, as campus security and safety professionals, to help these students feel like they don’t need to advocate for their safety. The ability to feel completely protected inside an educational facility should not be a privilege, but rather a right. It is with our help, our products, our solutions and insights that we might help to stop the next active shooter.

Campus security is personal to me. Not only do I have two sisters in high school, I have a brother in middle school and parents that work as teachers in a North Texas school district. I have made sure to do my part by making this issue useful to campus security professionals across the country, filling it with articles about video surveillance, virtual training, access control, cloud storage and even a Q & A about arming teachers on campuses.

Also found in the pages of this magazine is the agenda for our Campus Security & Life Safety Summits, to be held this year in an effort to help security professionals expand their knowledge on the unique solutions available to them and their campus.

It is my hope that the vital information shared in Campus Security & Life Safety, along with the creative solutions put forth by campus security product manufacturers and the voices of students and teachers impacted by these tragic incidents, fuels a movement of safety and security on campuses that we have not seen before.

Student safety has always been a priority on campuses, but it wasn’t until now that administration and government officials saw the holes in the system. With the adequate amount of education and funding, we may be able to let our students—including my family— feel safe again.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Campus Security Today.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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