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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

MATC empowers students and staff with Lockdown Drills to safeguard against escalating school violence threats

MATC Public Safety

Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, nearly 340,000 students have experienced school gun violence.

In 2022, approximately 300 school shootings were reported, resulting in 51 serious injuries or fatalities, a 17% increase from the previous year and a staggering 260% jump from 2021, according to the K12 Shooting Database.

Understanding that gun violence stands as the leading cause of death among those under 19, the urgency for students, staff, and community members to take action and recognize signs of gun violence has never been greater. Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Protecting America’s children from gun violence,” revealed that 93% of school shooters plan their attacks in advance, with almost all documented cases of active shootings exhibiting some form of warning sign.

Some significant warning signs encompass sudden withdrawal from friends, family, social media, and activities; bullying; excessive irritability; direct threats to themselves or others; isolation and loneliness; and boasting about weapons. Recognizing these indicators empowers you to take action and seek help for that individual before it’s too late.

As students transition into colleges, universities, and the workforce, the persistent threat of violence calls for ongoing conversations on how to respond. Despite the proliferation of PSAs, training programs, increased surveillance, and heightened security measures, most school districts still feel ill-equipped to confront the looming threat of gun violence.

On August 28, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill experienced a three-hour lockdown when an armed graduate student roamed campus, fatally shooting a faculty member. Just two days earlier, at Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida, a gunman approached the campus in his vehicle, prompting vigilant students to alert a public safety officer who bravely confronted the assailant. The attacker subsequently fled, barricading himself in a nearby Dollar General store where he fatally shot three people in a racially motivated attack.

In response to this escalating nationwide threat, MATC conducted lockdown drills across all five campuses, enabling staff to rehearse methods of safeguarding students during active shooter incidents. The college released a concise 6-minute video, “Run, Hide, Fight,” to educate individuals on making life-saving decisions during such crises. The video underscores that, upon recognizing an active shooter incident, the safest course of action is to flee the area immediately, evacuating, leaving belongings and warning others whenever possible. Individuals should keep their hands visible and follow police instructions when help arrives.

If escaping directly exposes one to the shooter or if the location of a nearby threat remains unknown, hiding may become the next best choice. This involves turning off lights, securing and barricading doors, avoiding windows, silencing phones, and staying out of sight. It’s crucial to remain calm and, if possible, calling 911 to provide location updates or allow them to listen in silently if speaking is unsafe.

When hiding or running are not viable options and one’s life is in immediate danger, bystanders may consider disarming, distracting, or incapacitating the active shooter as a last resort. It’s key to act aggressively and to commit to fighting back. It’s even recommended to use improvised weapons or throw objects to slow an attacker.

The average police response time to an active shooter is around 15 minutes as sometimes, the first 911 calls are received up to 5 minutes after the incident begins. It is critical to remain calm, have a plan, and adapt quickly to stay safe when every minute matters most.

MATC’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Shari Rowe, emphasizes the importance of individual decision-making in these situations, stating, “Our training workshops are designed to prepare students and employees to make those decisions.” Students and staff can expect future training sessions and should monitor their email and the Week Ahead updates for more information.

If you encounter an active shooter situation, remember to Run, Hide, Fight and call 911 as soon as you can safely do so. If you are in need of help on campus or have additional questions, you can contact MATC’s Public Safety at:

414-297-8477 (anonymous tip line)

414-297-6588 (non-emergency number)  

414-297-6200 (emergency) 

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About the Contributor
Christopher D'Allen
Christopher D'Allen, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Christopher D'Allen and I am the Editor-in-Chief for the MATC Times, a student run paper dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in scholastic journalism. The MATC Times stands as the voice of our students and a bastion of free speech for the communiy we represent. I joined the staff in my first semester at MATC and obtained my current position at the start of Summer '23. Here I am a photography student and hold a BA in Political Science and Spanish & Latin American Studies with a minor in Democracy and Justice Studies. I have worked an Administrative Assistant, World Language Instructor, a Head Lifeguard and Resident Assistant, but have found that my passion lies in the arts. As a photographer, I challenge myself daily to find a new perspective, capture a fleeting scene and turn moments into memories. As we work to relaunch the MATC Times website and grow our staff, I want to make joining our team as positive a learning experience and beneficial a work experience as possible. I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and inclusivity. As an Editor, I actively encourage diverse perspectives. Each student's unique viewpoint enriches our storytelling and fosters a sense of unity within our community. I aim to bridge the gap between words and images, revealing the untold stories that shape our community.