Malvern has an open 103 acre campus with beautiful ponds, fields and trees in a nice part of the Philadelphia suburbs.
However, it is a false sense of security.
School shootings have become almost normalized in American society and media. We would be foolish to think that Malvern is not susceptible to one as well.
Sandy Hook is safer than 94% of the cities in America, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Columbine was in a “very low” crime rate area, according to city-data.com.
Malvern is ranked lower than Sandy Hook in terms of safety level at 90%, and in the same category of crime rate as Columbine.
As safe as we may think we are, we must take precautions because just about anyone could walk on campus with a gun without any check.
Malvern is currently working to physically prevent any attack on campus.
Current precautions include multiple cameras on campus, and requiring all visitors to check in at the Visitor Center in Austin Hill, according to Dean of Students Mr. Tim Dougherty.
Current procedures for lockdowns are being altered.
Public Safety Director Mr. LeStrange, Dean of Students Mr. Dougherty, and Assistant Dean of Students Mr. Rick Poce attended ALICE training sessions this past summer. ALICE stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.”
Lockdowns are commonly thought of as students silently gathering in a corner, but ALICE is not that.
According to the ALICE website, “Counter focuses on disruptive actions that create noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately.”
Malvern has yet to inform students on the tactics of ALICE. This must be done immediately once all procedures and guidelines are officially in place. We need to be taught ALICE and what to do in the case of an active shooter on campus.
Last year, when two men came on campus to target shoot in the corner of campus, students said that some teachers and students treated it as a joke or a practice when in actuality it was a very serious incident.
We should have more lockdown drills and train students and teachers on ALICE training within the first month of school.
More importantly than physical and procedural changes is the culture that we have to create and embrace to keep our community safe.
We are fortunate to have a small community of less than 1,000 families in all. It allows for faculty to get to know students more personally and of course, the brotherhood.
Often times, school shootings are not a product of impulsive rage, but rather the gradual compilation of stress, frustration, and anger.
Columbine shooter Eric Harris and his friend Dylan Klebold had been building an arsenal and making plans to use it – plans that Harris wrote about on the Internet, on his website, according to CBS News.
An excerpt from Newtown: An American Tragedy published in the New York Daily News, revealed that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza “became increasingly obsessed with the military and had an obvious fascination with death and an aversion to human touch.”
There can be warning signs far in advance of a devastating school shooting, and as a school community we need to be cognizant and truly caring for one another.
When you ask, “How are you?” don’t make it a social formality, because actually meaning it could make all the difference.
When you say “Malvern has a special brotherhood,” embrace that. Not just the kids in your class or the guys on the sports team, but every single person needs to belong.
Our biggest defense mechanism could never be a safe campus location or lockdown procedures.
It is our sense of community.