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Here's why every professor is reviewing emergency procedures in your class

Students gather in front of Wilson Library to protest gun violence on Thursday morning.

Students gather in front of Wilson Library to protest gun violence on Thursday morning.

A week after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, UNC faculty have been asked to read a script outlining classroom emergency procedures. 

Written by Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management Derek Kemp, the script asks the class instructor to read aloud safety procedures for weather, medical and fire emergencies. Another category listed is “a situation in which someone intends to do harm," which the script noted can be a difficult situation to have a clear-cut answer. 

It does, however, list that students and faculty should run, hide and fight, with the latter option as a last resort when one’s life is in imminent danger. 

Despite the lack of Parkland references by Kemp and in the script, faculty and students associate the event with the refresher on emergency procedures. 

“In light of recent events in Parkland, Florida, I wasn’t surprised my English professor informed us of the emergency procedures at the beginning of class," said first-year Jenny Suwanmanee. "I didn’t expect it. But when it was brought up, I wasn’t surprised."

Professor Andy Bechtel of the School of Media and Journalism published a Tweet of the statement and spoke about the content in his classes. He traditionally uses his Twitter account to call attention to University actions and requests of faculty. 

“I wanted to share with people what the University was doing after the situation after the Florida shooting, and how we’re preparing our faculty and staff,” Bechtel said. “When I talked about it in class on Monday morning, students appreciated the conversation.” 

Despite the timely release of the script shortly after the events at Parkland, Kemp made no mention of gun violence or school shootings in his official statement. Instead, he credits the script to requests by faculty at the start of the spring semester. 

“The script covered a variety of scenarios and is just one of the ways Carolina promotes safety and preparedness on campus,” Kemp said.

The script also aimed to facilitate open discussions about emergency preparedness. 

“My peers and I started talking about what we would do considering the classroom setup in emergency situations,” Suwanmanee said. “Considering that my English class is on the 3rd floor of Greenlaw, it was unsettling to my peers and me that our classroom didn’t have a lock and the windows can’t be opened. We did discuss as a class and wondered the logical reasoning as to why there’s a security camera in our classroom but there’s not a lock on the door.” 

This script has brought light to a number of security measures that students and faculty must take to remain safe on a college campus, whose setting is far more public and exposed than traditional K-12 school settings where students initially learn emergency procedures.

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