Campus Violence – Observations after Crisis
At Firestorm, we watched with the rest of the world as another instance of school violence shattered a peaceful Spring morning for students of Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, after a Murrysville, Pennsylvania teen allegedly rampaged through his high school’s hallways, stabbing wildly with two kitchen knives.
This attack, like so many others, is complex in motivation and response management; while many are quick to cite bullying as a motivation, that is not yet clear.
The school had trained for crisis – it is this training and “muscle memory” that helps response in a completely random and unplanned scenario.
While gun violence is at the top of the threat list for many schools, in the past 12 months, there have been at least 10 reported stabbings at schools across the country. Most recently, on March 26, a 19-year-old student stabbed another at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public high school in Cambridge, Mass. A day before that, in Ontario, California, a 16-year-old student stabbed another student at Valley View High School, resulting in three local schools being placed on lockdown.
Students, school staff and all associated with a campus, must test for multiple scenarios – arson, chemicals, weapons, poisoning, and yes, even Zombie attacks if that engages students and fosters learning retention.
Dr. Kevin Manning recently shared his own poignant view of campus protection in an articulate commentary for the Baltimore Sun.
Dr. Manning has served as president of Stevenson University since 2000 and has more than 40 years of experience as an administrator in higher education. He is the current board chair for the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association (MICUA).
In his commentary, Dr. Manning describes his thoughts and concerns as his own campus is in lockdown as a result of a report of an “Active shooter on the Owings Mills campus.” Fortunately in this instance, it was a false alarm, however, Dr. Manning eloquently states: