Setting sights on safety:

Photo by Claire Ekas.

By Stevi Breshears:

Amarillo, TX is far away from Parkland, FL, but for many Amarillo College students and staff, the Feb. 14 high school shooting hit too close to home.

With “USA Today” estimating that there have been 200 school shootings since Columbine in 1999, it’s no surprise that colleges are reexamining emergency procedures.

Some AC employees said the recent shooting serves a reminder of the increasingly scary reality that lurks in the hallways between class.

Bryant Manning, an English professor, is taking extra precautions in his classroom. “I’ve long had the habit of shutting my classroom door once class begins. Maybe now I will start locking it as well,” he said.

Students said they are also nervous, but generally feel safe on Amarillo College campuses.

“I do feel that the campus is safe,” Sheridan Lillico, a music major, said. “I know the AC police are a phone call away if ever needed. On a day-to-day basis, I feel there is a very relaxed atmosphere throughout the entire campus.”

For some students, however, the idea of an active shooter situation extends past the classrooms at AC.

Hayley Ingram, an education major, now has mixed feelings about her chosen field of study. “I personally am hesitant to continue in my field. I do not think a staff member or teacher should be scared to go to work,” she said.

In order to make sure students and staff members are all on the same page when it comes to emergencies, AC President Russell Lowery-Hart sent out an email containing the college’s entire emergency management plan and notifications of opportunities for emergency response training.

“The more training and knowledge we receive, the better we can serve our students and campus community. The college will be offering more trainings in the immediate future and I look forward to participating in them,” Manning said.

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