Community college talks safety

LIBERAL, Kansas – In light of recent shootings at school campuses across the country, many schools are looking at ways to improve safety for their students and staff.

“We each have a role to play,” said Rachel Coleman, the director of marketing and public relations at the Seward County Community College Area Technical School.

Safety is on the minds of the staff at Seward County Community College as they reassess their own policies.

“Starting in December, we’re starting what we’re hoping is really a four-phase process of really empowering people on campus, which aligns very much with our team approach of being collaborative; looking out for one another,” said Dr. Ken Trzaska, the president of SCCC/ATS.

The college will host discussions and situational drills to prepare for any potential threat to students and staff.

“We’ve taken a fresh look at many of our campus policies and practices and so security is one of those,” Coleman said.

The school is also considering adding extra security, including possibly adding additional security cameras, digital locking systems to entranceways and key card entries.

But cost is also a concern with safety.

“We’re a taxpayer institution,” Coleman said. “We belong to our community.”

“Those things cost money so we would be looking at sources of funding for those upgrades,” Dr. Trzaska said.

The school says that its primary focus is to create an environment that cultivates inclusion and community on campus.

“When you’re on a campus and you don’t have that feeling of being lost in a crowd of strangers, you’re much more likely to connect with people when you need help,” Coleman said. “You’re more likely to notice when someone is struggling.”

Right now, the Seward County Community College Area Technical School is under a waiver that stops the use of conceal carry of weapons on school property, making it a gun-free zone.

Many schools across the state are also under this waiver that expires in 2016.

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