Schools prepare for the worst in aftermath of shootings


Sarah Tocatlian

School Resource Officer Brian Vogel looks over the Big Five on his computer.

Sarah Tocatlian, Staff Writer

Mass shootings at schools are no longer the rare occurrence they once were. They have become something that people are constantly hearing about from the media, leaving many to wonder about the viability of school security policies.

On Oct. 1, Chris Harper-Mercer, allegedly killed nine and wounded many of the students attending his school, Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Schools are supposed to be a safe place for students; however, since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, there has been, on average, a school shooting once per week, according to The Washington Post.

Sophomore Julia Walsh said, “Sometimes I think about whether something like that could happen here, I know we have…safety precautions, but you can never be sure when it comes to situations like this.”

Administrations from local schools have established new safety measures starting this 2015-2016 school year.

The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) worked with some of the San Mateo Police Department to create a set of new protocols for emergency response in schools. The SMCOE came up with The Big Five: Shelter in Place, Secure Campus, Lockdown/Barricade, Evacuation, and Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Even with a trained staff, and security on campus, the emotional reaction of students is unpredictable. “You can’t prepare, all you can do is react the way you are trained,” said School Resource Officer Brian Vogel.

Vogel mentioned that making Carlmont a more secure campus is an ongoing process.

“I believe that the school has the appropriate procedures to keep us, the students, safe,” said sophomore Joshua Camerino.

Carlmont prepares by having several drills throughout the year. The next drill is scheduled for Oct. 15 at the end of 4th period.

Principal Ralph Crame said, “Over the summer, key members of our staff attended a training that was a simulation of an intruder on a campus at one of our local schools that included Belmont PD and the SWAT team.”

Even if emergency situations are unpredictable, Vogel said, “We can’t be naive to these circumstances, they are an unfortunate reality.”