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Student safety at school

With proper preparation, SAIT students have no reason to worry

(Photo by Parker Crook/The Weal)

(Photo by Parker Crook/The Weal)

With recent security concerns in Canada, the idea of safety in the workplace and at school has been looming over our heads.

It’s not surprising that safety has come into question after hearing about the school shooting in La Loche, Sask., and the ‘gun-shaped-lighter incident’ at our own school on Feb. 10.

This is understandable and students should be aware of the safety protocols for any given situation. However there is no reason to worry.

When the lighter incident occurred, police searched the building and while there was no formal lockdown, no one was physically injured.

According to Barry Cochran, head of security at SAIT, people often wonder about their safety at a place of education, especially after an incident like this occurs.

“We can mitigate by being prepared,” said Cochran.

Preparation in this sense, is referring to the several security debriefings taking place in the weeks following what happened on campus. This includes, but is not limited to, operational debriefings with the Calgary Police Service, Mount Royal University, Bow Valley College and the University of Calgary.

According to Cochran, these incidents serve as a lesson for all schools nationwide.

“We at security take [the recent incident] as a learning opportunity.”

SAIT really is a safe school. Paladin Security Group provides trained uniformed security services on the campus that are on the lookout for student’s safety. Security also uses a CCTV system to keep a watch over SAIT’s well-being.

There should be a certain level of trust students have in their campus security.

“Absolutely SAIT is a safe place to work, study and visit,” said Cochran proudly.

However, not all aspects of campus security are controllable. A common issue is social media’s coverage of an incident or event. This is because those who post online are rarely getting the full scope of the story, so it becomes easy to misinterpret what is truly going on.

For example, there may be an incident much like the one that occurred at SAIT involving a fake gun. Maybe there’s a student named Lily who happens to be near the action. She might think she saw someone being threatened with a gun and the police attempting to detain the culprit, but how can she tell if it’s a real gun?

These incidents unfortunately happen all the time, and it’s important to remember that while social media may be useful for quick updates, you shouldn’t trust everything that is posted online.

So don’t panic, we don’t need to worry about installing metal detectors at every entrance of the school, or having armed guards around every corner. It just isn’t necessary.

SAIT is a safe school in which you should feel comfortable.

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