Students at SCCC should be frightened. Not by exams, meal plans, or general college-induced stress, but by something much more severe. After recent high school shootings throughout the nation, including the one in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed, the fear of an active shooter has never been greater. It does not help with SCCC’s minimal effort to prevent such an occurrence.
SCCC is an open campus, which indicates that anyone, student or not, can set foot on campus without prior warning or security check-in. All of the buildings on the Ammerman Campus are kept unlocked as well, without central security through electronic locks. The school’s public safety officers are not armed and primarily hold the responsibility of calling the police in such an occurrence. In other words, public safety’s active shooter prevention protocol is not enough.
Shortly after the Parkland shooting, the president of SCCC, Shaun McKay, sent out an email on Feb. 26 to the student body addressing the issue.
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“We have secured full staffing for our Public Safety force, we have purchased additional equipment, and we have provided strong leadership for our officers inclusive of adding an Assistant Director of Patrol Operations and leadership at the Captain level on each campus,” the email stated.
Regarding whether professors should carry firearms, McKay said, “personally, I do not see any reason to arm teachers — or professors– within an institution for higher learning.”
The public safety page of the SCCC website contains the basic run, hide, fight policy as its lone protocol in taking action for an active shooter. The policy advises students to call 911, and also provides instructions on what to do when police arrive.
In response to one of the most deadly mass shootings in American history, all SCCC did was supply additional unarmed security guards and strong leadership. Former police officer John Cerato says that just is not enough for a school that is open and withholds that many students.
“The amount of security they have at Suffolk is making me rethink sending my kids there,” Cerato says. “As a former cop, my job was to defend people and seeing that an entire institution can feel comfortable with the process they have right now is really disheartening.”
According to Newsday, school districts across Long Island have been progressively making additional security efforts after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. Schools have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like highly trained security guards, security cameras, building monitoring services, and visitor restriction technologies.
SCCC has not taken the same steps as other schools across Long Island to protect staff and students in the event of a mass shooting. They have fallen behind on necessary technological advances and security efforts to avoid another heartbreaking story. As the upper executives pass it off as if they are taking the necessary steps, the school remains woefully unprepared.