By Victor Valladares; Staff Writer
“By order of the Work Environment Committee… all classroom doors will be required to be locked for all instructors in the NEA [North East Academic] Hall.”
This announcement was sent out in a letter to all the teachers in the Northeast Academic Hall by the Work Environment Committee. During the summer the Academic Senate and the Work Environment Committee met to discuss tactics that the Los Angeles Community College District had said it wanted it’s colleges to take in case an active shooter came onto campus. In short it is now required that all classroom doors be locked to prevent a shooter from entering the Classroom.
In attendance at this meeting was Work Environment Committee Chair Michael Reid as well as Deputy Sheriff Nikos Guskos. When asked about the new policy of requiring that
all classroom doors remain locked Committee Chairman Michael Reid said, “The reason behind the locked [doors] is to ensure safety for both faculty and students, I think it’s a good idea because [when] using the instructor pass key to enter, [it] mak[es] people, students, and faculty feel safe.” When asked whether these new shooter prevention tactics are beneficial Reid had this to say, “This is beneficial, who’s gonna argue about safety right? You want to be safe…[in] the environment you come to.”
Reid also commented on what could be possible with further faculty training and it’s impact on the students, “Awareness and training for active shooters for faculty then passing that information from faculty to students in their classrooms. We’re looking for a safe environment not just [in] the NEA but for the whole campus and we’re going to do that through training and that includes earthquake and natural disaster training.
Faculty has been on board with the changes, I haven’t received any complaints directly.” Director of College Facilities Alex Nelson had this to say about the new rules set forth by the district, “I think it’s safer[and it’s] for everyone’s safety, the district suggests that we do these tactics for all the buildings on campus… by the end of May 2019 mechanical doors will be switched onto classrooms.. all it [will] take [is] a push of a button to lock [the door] from the inside of class.” According to Deputy Sheriff Guskos, “The Sheriff Department had a saying in… suggesting the tactic to the committee, the committee suggested it would increase safety for the students. We conduct monthly security meeting looking for ways to increase safety on the Campus. The Sheriff’s Department is ready [for] any emergency including an active shooter.”
As for what student’s have to think about this new rule, Henry Johnson III, Sociology Major said, “It’s a 50-50 because what if I’m running during that event trying to get to a safety zone and everything I locked and not able to enter?”
Chris Jackson, Sociology Major voiced a similar sentiment, “It’s a win or lose due to the fact there aren’t many students walking around campus.
As for thoughts on the new rules from teachers, Sociology Instructor Alberto Pimentel had this to say, “I personally want students to have a[n] open classroom where they are able to come early and have a place to relax, I know that there are concerns other students have and I do understand that, but I also want the students to know that there is a welcoming classroom for them”, Andrea Cano, ESL instructor said, “it’s a positive change for the school and can be beneficial for the campus.” As of right now, some instructors have started to lock their doors during lecture while some still have their doors left ajar with a trash can.