GHC’s campus safety wants students to be prepared

College officials are making it a priority to make sure students stay safe on campus.

Silent Witness is a form on GHC’s campus safety webpage that can be used to report a crime or something suspicious on campus. Faculty, staff and students may use it if they don’t feel comfortable going into the campus safety office. When a form is filled out, it will be sent to Georgia Highlands College’s Chief of Police David Horace’s email account.

The form may be found by going to the Highlands home page, searching for “silent witness” and clicking the first link. The person making the report has the option of leaving or omitting his or her name.

“Plan, Prepare, React” is a video about how to react to an active shooter situation that was recently released through the University System of Georgia. A link to the video was emailed to all students, faculty and staff.

Horace said that if someone suspects a shooter is on campus, he or she should call 911 and campus safety and tell them in detail the suspected shooter’s appearance and his or her location on campus.

If someone is in the vicinity of a shooter, he or she should try to escape the area or barricade himself or herself in a place away from the shooter.

People should look for exits, according to Horace, and if there is no way to escape they should lock themselves in a classroom. If the classroom door doesn’t lock, they should barricade the door with desks and put books in their backpack and wear it in front of them.

“Active shooters tend to cause as much damage as they can. So when you barricade yourself in, that’s a deterrent,” Horace said.

Horace wants students to understand that if there is an active shooter situation on campus, the first team of police officers to arrive will be concentrating on finding the shooter to stop the threat. The second set of officers to arrive will start helping the injured.

He said that it is also important that everybody complies with law enforcement. People might even be told to drop their phones.

It is important that faculty, staff and students pay attention to their surroundings and available exits, Horace said.

Director of Student Life John Spranza said, “At any case, whether it’s on campus or at the grocery store or at the mall, just being aware of your surroundings is probably one of the most important tips for students as far as their own personal safety.”