Teachers Speak Out On Safety Concerns


When tragedy strikes, time slows down. The ticking of a clock synchronizes with the pounding of the heart. Seconds turn into minutes and minutes begin to feel as if the years are passing by in mere moments. No one can describe the feeling of the victims of school shootings. The physical incident can last minutes, but the harrowing impact that is left after shooting can last a lifetime.  

According to GunViolence.org, there have been 323 mass shootings in America last year alone. With the number of school shootings rising every month, it may be time for teachers themselves to make their voice heard on the topic of school shootings.

“I think the school has taken many important steps to ensure safety of both faculty and students,” explained Brian Russell, a history professor at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC). “I work in the LA building, and we have solid core doors that are lockable from the inside. In addition, there are landlines in the rooms to provide quick access/reporting to public safety. Lastly, the school offers training for faculty on how to respond to an active shooter incident helping to ensure we are prepared for the unexpected as best as we can be.” 

Trevor Juenger

“I do [worry], but generally about things that happen off campus,” said Trevor Juenger, a film appreciation professor at SWIC. “The Metrolink system exposes young people to a lot of dangerous situations. A lot of students have rough home lives. Classes seem like an escape from more dangerous situations for a lot of students.”

There’s always a discussion on whether America has proper gun laws or not. The never-ending debate is if the laws are too strict or not strict enough.In the meantime, sadly, the amount of school shootings still rise. America hopes to find a solution, and fast.

“I think we need smarter gun regulations in America. Absolutely,”

said Juenger

“Yes, I do feel that our government needs to revisit and revise the current gun laws,” said Art Muro, an adjunct English instructor at SWIC. “This question is a type of “What if” for me, but I’d like to believe that our country, in general, would be — at least — a better monitored under assumed revised gun laws.”

“I’ve been on campus at different times of the day for classes,” expressed Kirk Meyers, another English adjunct, who said he is on campus as early as 7:30 in the morning and even 10:00 at night. “I can say that, generally, I feel safe on SWIC’s campus. This isn’t to say that I’m not mindful of my surroundings, though I’m probably the most observant of my surroundings at night, after an evening class when I’m walking to my car in the parking lot.”

The proposition for professors and staff members to be allowed to carry forms of protection has been brought up.

“We have good laws that just need to be consistently enforced. I would like to have staff be allowed to “conceal/carry” if properly trained and registered as doing so,” said Russell. “I think it would add a layer of security that is currently missing.”

Karen Jobe
Karen Jobe

“Perhaps mace, since it’s nonlethal,” offered Karen Jobe, an anthropology professor at SWIC. “But not knives. Public spaces can never be completely safe; that is the nature of mass society and specifically our ‘well armed’ society. But focusing on the risk of intruders, etc., distracts us from the things that cause daily harm to people in this country.”

Mac Chamblin, from the Mass Communications Department at SWIC, shared his views about gun laws.

Mac Chamblin.

“Unfortunately, current gun laws have not eliminated gun related fatalities or injuries in this country. But we can be thankful that no one has ever been injured or killed because of gun violence at any of our campuses,” said Chamblin,

Thomas Birkner

Thomas Birkner, a member of the Music Dept. at SWIC, shared his view on how he views the security at SWIC. “When I teach on the campus, I feel a sense of security and a sense of protection from our security in uniform. As a teacher here for many years, I have always felt safe. While we must always protect our students, faculty, and staff, I do not carry a sense of fear on the Belleville campus. Unfortunately, guns are very accessible in our country. Clear and responsible ownership is critical for each owner and it is important to enforce the laws that are in place. We need to review the individual access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons, bump-stocks, and similar alterations to standard weapons for sport, recreation, and protection.”

School shootings is a vivid nightmare that is becoming an all too common reality. Perhaps it is time to start asking the questions and pushing for answers from those that are looked up to most on campus and their sense of safety.

https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/query – Link to GunViolence.org, mentioned in first paragraph.

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