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Safety First: While school shootings take the national spotlight, IVCC officials concentrate on campus safety

Safety First: While school shootings take the national spotlight, IVCC officials concentrate on campus safety

IV Leader graphic

SCHOOL VIOLENCE This map contains the names of 27 schools which have experienced school shootings since 2010, according to Wikipedia. As school shooting incidents across the nation increase, schools like Illinois Valley Community College are reviewing their security plans.

As school shootings have increased across the United States, IVCC officials have taken steps to increase safety on campus, including a new alert system.

There are multiple ways that students can be alerted on campus.  The newly introduced alert system at the school is called “Rave.”  Rave is a texting and email program.

If students have their cell phone number listed as a cell phone in the IVCC system, they will receive a text message if one of three things were to happen.

Tracy Morris, associate vice president for student services, said, “The three times you will be alerted are in case of campus closure due to weather, campus closure due to a water main break, and any sort of safety issue.”

If students do not want their cell phone to be alerted, they can opt out of the text messages, but not the emails.  Every month on the 22nd, there is an emergency alert test sent via email and text.

“Keeping texting is encouraged so everyone can stay informed of the situation happening,” Morris said.

If students are not receiving text messages and would like to, they can enter their phone numbers in the “Cell Phone Number” box on WebAdvisor or visit the Records and Admissions office.

Morris noted that students are to be informed that the Rave system is not for specific class cancellations; those need to be looked up under the “Cancellations and Closings” on the main IVCC Web page.

Morris also mentioned that there are newly updated Immediate Action Guides located around campus.

Each individual student cannot take the guides, but “students are encouraged to take the time to look at the,” according to Morris.

Dennis Franklin, campus security supervisor, and Cheryl Roelfsema, vice president of business and finance, both said that the school is reviewing its security process and re-evaluating continuously on a regular basis.

The police run regular practice drills when nobody is on campus so they are able to know their way around the school in case of emergency.
One consideration currently is whether to have armed security officers on campus. Presently, the campus safety officers for G4S security do not carry weapons.

“The discussion of having armed security guards is always something that is looked into by the Board of Trustees,” Franklin said.

Students have mixed opinions on the idea of armed security guards.

Student Tyler Perry said, “With the current safety officers we have now, I do not feel any safer than I would without them.  They seem more like hall monitors and traffic cops than people who could protect my life in case of a shooter on campus.”

Another student, Haley Phelps, said, “I feel safe.  I don’t think guards need to always carry guns, but they should have some somewhere just in case of an emergency.”

In addition to campus security officers, Roelfsema said the faculty and staff are “trained through in-service days annually.”

At the spring in-service, several faculty members expressed their support for campus security officers from G4S Security being allowed to carry weapons and asked IVCC president Jerry Corcoran to communicate their feelings to the board.

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