With the ongoing debate as to what should be done to curtail lethal violence that has sadly been repeatedly unleashed on school grounds, Lorain County Community College has taken steps to increase security for students and staff.
Changes to security across the campus will be ongoing. Some changes have already been implemented. Students will now discover the corridor leading to the administrative offices within the CC building are now locked and inaccessible without a code. “This is enhancing security and access,” said Tracy Green, Vice President of Strategic and Institutional Development.
“Staff or students need a code to get in,” she said, “It is still very much an open-door policy, what you will see is a sign for individuals to call to be able to be let in.” These are just some changes that will be implemented throughout the college’s campus. “It’s a fine balance because we are committed to be the communities college,” said Green, “with an open, accessible institution, but it is simply the testing of new protocols.”
LCCC received a one million dollar grant from the state of Ohio to invest in security, according to Green. “Given what we have seen nationally, you can never be too safe,” she said.
The most recent shooting on March 14, 2018 in Parkland, FL was a major influence for these kind of security measures. The mass shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that ended with 17 fatalities. There have been 14 school shootings so far in the United States for the year of 2018, according to a report from CNN. That includes 25 deaths resulting from these incidents.
“We had a company come in and give an assessment of the college,” said Green, “We had them come in and look at everything.” The company’s assessment included the physical nature of the campus, the various protocols and policies, and staffing. “They gave us a comprehensive report, and we have started to implement some of those things,” Green explained.
Those implementations include the pin codes used for doors. “We have pin codes on many of our buildings now,” said Green. “It is standard as we are retrofitting other buildings on campus.” Other than Pin codes, heightened security on campus has also been implemented using the partnership with the Elyria Police Department. “We have partnerships with all of our campus’s outreach centers as well,” said Green, “We are trying to keep the same type of presence and protocols on-campus as we do at the outreach center.”
The ability to be able to lock classroom doors from the inside and bulletproof film for windows were some priorities on the company assessment report. “Most of our classrooms don’t have locks, so that will be something that we are looking into and clear film that is bulletproof for the windows,” said Green, “All of these are just part of our commitment to safety.”
LCCC’s campus security is also proactive in preparing for the worst case scenario to go along with the new security changes. “Our campus security meets with every division and takes them through training and they have done an active shooter simulation training,” she said.
In addition, LCCC sent a team to Portland, OR. to learn from the shooting they experienced. On Oct. 1, 2015, at The Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon, a 26-year-old enrolled student fatally shot an assistant professor and eight classmates. Others were injured in the incident as well as the suspect whom committed suicide.
“We are proactive but also know our mission,” said Green. “We want our students to know that their number one priority in coming here is their education. You cannot have that as your number one priority if you are worried about safety.”