By Eloiza Jimenez
CCC Journalism Program

In light of recent school shootings, including the one on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 students and teachers were killed, some Camden County College students and a local police officer suggested ways to protect oneself on and off campus.

Student Yurami LaRosa takes notes in class. By Eloiza Jimenez, CCC Journalism Program

“I make sure to park closer to the school and I don’t lag when leaving night classes,” said Amir Lewis, who attends classes on the Blackwood campus. “Outside of school, I make sure to be aware of my surroundings and try to keep myself out of situations that could be dangerous.”

Yurami LaRosa, who also attends classes on the Blackwood campus, said security concerns make her nervous.

“Honestly, I do not think there is an actual way to protect myself from a shooting like the one that just happened recently in Florida. I think I’m just hoping nobody gets angry and chooses to shoot on this campus,” LaRosa said. “I come from Venezuela and there we used to have drills for earthquakes and fires, and coming here and having to hear a professor tell the class how to lock the doors in case of an active shooter is crazy.”

Lt. Zsakhiem James, the Second District community commander for the Camden County Police Department, offered some tips on how to spot someone unusual and how to protect oneself against potential active shooter situations:

“If you know that there is someone in your class that is out of sorts or seems to be upset or someone that you haven’t seen before or someone that’s dressed inappropriately for the weather, for example, a guy coming in the school with a long trench coat when it’s 70 degrees outside, alert security.

“It goes back to the see something say something method. You can’t just relax anymore and just get into your bubble.

“You have to be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of your exits and certain strategies that the school has in place for dealing with active shooters and things of that nature and familiarize yourself with those policies and training.”

James suggested contacting the school’s public safety department to learn more about its practices or visiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website at http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness to find out about active shooter preparedness workshops.

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