Belmont's active shooter protocol


Braden Simmons/Belmont Vision

Run, hide, fight. 

That’s the message University of Virginia sent out to students, professors and staff during the active shooting on campus Sunday night that killed three students and injured two. 

Sparking terror and a shelter in place order that lasted more than 12 hours, Chris Darnell Jones was apprehended Monday morning, according to NPR. 

On Belmont University’s campus, Campus Security has similar procedures in place with the run, hide, fight strategy. 

But many students and professors said they’ve never received that message.  

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 500 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive’s website.  

And many Belmont students and professors say they lack knowledge on what to do if there were an active shooter on campus.  

“I don’t have a particular plan or know what I would do,” said student Nicholas Georges.  

Mona Ivey-Soto, an associate professor, agrees.  

“I think from watching enough videos and working in schools I have a good sense of what I would do, but I don’t know that that’s in line with whatever Belmont’s protocol is, which I couldn’t really tell you,” Ivey-Soto said.  

While Ivey-Soto said she knows there’s opportunities for staff to receive active shooter education, she hasn’t been able to participate in these events.  

To educate and provide ways of prevention and proper response, Campus Security officers Mark Labbe, deputy chief, and Michael Moultry, operations captain, host “Active Shooter/Killer Response” WELL Core events. 

“We do WELL Cores just about every Tuesday,” said Labbe. “They get to throw stuff at us to simulate that run, hide, fight … we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on those.”  

But while those events may be beneficial, not many students and professors go to these trainings.  

“We’ve averaged about 12-15 students at our WELL Core events and 25-30 staff and faculty at the other trainings we do,” said Labbe in an email.  

Providing reasoning on why there might be low attendance, Ivey-Soto believes Belmont students and professors may feel that nothing like this could happen on campus.   

“We might almost have a false sense of safety that it wouldn’t happen here because we perceive this area to be more affluent and a ‘nice’ part of town, and that might cause us to maybe have our defenses down,” she said.  

But beyond the scope of WELL Core events and the preventative education that Labbe and Moultry teach, Ivey-Soto thinks there are other ways campus could be better protected and safer if there were an active shooter on campus.   

“There isn’t security that sits in buildings or anything that really would prevent somebody from getting into our space,” she said.  

And for many buildings on campus, with the exception to main offices, many of the classroom doors can’t be locked. 

If an intruder or active shooter were to come into the building, Ivey-Soto said she would probably secure the door any way she could by barricading it or by trying to get to an office that had a lock. 

Campus Security will continue to work on active shooter awareness and prevention as they host another “Active Shooter/Killer Response” WELL Core on Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. 

“It’s really just about prevention more so than response,” said Labbe.  

This article was written by Melody Scott

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