News of any sort of campus threat certainly puts every parent on high alert and sends waves of panic among students and staff. Thursday’s reports of a bomb threat on the Georgia College campus was no exception.
With three local college campuses, two in immediate proximity to each other and to downtown businesses and residents, quick and orderly response is imperative. So, too, is getting notification to the students and faculty in most immediate possible danger.
When waves of reports of Thursday’s threat began to circulate, Georgia College officials, campus police as well as local law enforcement responded quickly, with the right tone to signal the severity of the matter, issuing a plan to ensure orderly protocol. Students and staff responded in orderly fashion by following campus instructions. Text alerts notified students and staff of the incident and alerted them to take precautions and exit the campus to a designated area as Georgia College was placed on lockdown. This is significant given the number of commuter students, particularly at nearby Georgia Military College, who are in and out of local campuses throughout the day and may not have been on campus or were heading to campus at the time of the lockdown.
Last year Georgia College was named one of the safest college campus in the state by an organization that releases and compiles campus data and information, and there is no doubt that honor is well-deserved. This recognition perhaps has much to do with the foresight of campus law enforcement and the protocols already in place that help keep the thousands of students and staff members safe and alert each day.
Fortunately for everyone, Thursday’s lockdown was the result of a threat and not anything more serious. We’ve all seen similar scenes play out on television at other college campuses with more tragic results. Thursday’s events should serve as a reminder that every threat must be taken seriously and that every second counts.
It is our hope that the local campuses and the community never experience the level of panic a confirmed threat can create, but should it ever occur, it is certainly reassuring to know that a plan is in place to follow.
Circumstances like Thursday’s lockdown do provide an opportunity see what works and what is most effective in these types of situations to improve and ensure efficiency. Every second can potentially change the course of an emergency situation and lives are at risk, communication is vital, and so too, is communication among each campus.