- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio University student Gabby Bacha knows how to react if there’s an “active shooter” on campus - when to run or stack desks against a classroom door, even what to do if a weapon is wrestled away - thanks to a training program put on by the school’s police department.

“That, for me, was a big safety net in making me feel safer on campus - knowing that I actually had power in trying to control the narrative when an active shooter comes onto campus,” Bacha, 22, said in a phone interview.

Eight years after the Virginia Tech massacre prompted tighter campus security measures, some universities make active shooter training mandatory for incoming students, while others offer little guidance on what to do if there’s a gunman on the loose, a review of more than 40 states by The Associated Press shows.

Bacha, a senior studying political science, learned the safety tips as part of her orientation as a resident assistant at the Athens campus. Active shooter training is required for OU’s resident housing staff, though not all of its students. Campus police provide the training for free to groups and others.

In Ohio, such active shooter training policies are left to the colleges to develop. The state’s Department of Higher Education does not impose statewide requirements for active shooting training. The agency has not made specific training recommendations to universities either, though a state website provides links to campus safety reports and other school security materials.

“In Ohio, each university and college board of trustees is tasked with formulating a campus safety plan that works best for that particular campus,” said Jeff Robinson, a spokesman for higher education department.

The department hired a full-time coordinator in 2007 to work with Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities on safety policies.

The Oct. 1 shooting deaths of nine students at a community college in southern Oregon have students, professors and administrators across the country asking whether schools plans are adequate or whether they should do more to communicate potentially life-saving messages.

Some Ohio schools use videos in addition to brochures, posters and online resources to help educate their campuses about what to do in an active shooter scenario. Tweets and text alerts help keep students updated in emergencies.

A week before the Oregon shooting, Ohio State University released a video called “Surviving an Active Shooter.” It’s received more than 22,000 views on YouTube.

The six-minute video opens with images of Ohio State’s campus and football stadium. It then cuts to the back of a man, who’s wearing dark clothing. Like in an action movie, the background music’s tempo picks up as the man approaches a university building, walks inside and pulls a gun from his jacket. A police officer steps in. “Chances are you’ll never face a situation like this one, but if you do, you’ll need to be prepared,” he tells viewers.

Ohio State students received a link to the video through multiple emails.

Robert Armstrong, the university’s emergency management director, said the video provides another opportunity to get the safety message out. “The more information you throw out there in many different ways, the more people you’re going to hit.”

Ohio State does not require its faculty or students to have active shooter training, but it offers such safety lessons to them. Senior residence hall staff and student residents receive training on building emergencies, which includes an active shooter component, a school spokeswoman said.

John Zipp, a sociology professor at the University of Akron, said he believed his school has done a good job to raise awareness about what to do if a gunman is on campus.

Still, he said, “You never know how well informed you are until something happens, right? And that’s the sad part.”



Ohio State’s training video: https://bit.ly/1VISTWF

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