Every Falcon for themselves


Photo credit: Magalee Frometa

Luis Lemus and Edgar Mendoza

Cerritos College failed to make sure that both their students and their staff would be safe during an emergency with the handling of last week’s bomb threat.

A delayed emergency alert, coupled with some classrooms having doors that could not lock and professors who abandoned their classes at the first sign of trouble, led to mass confusion and fear that could have been avoided or at the very least lessened.

At 11:53 in the morning, a man walked into a classroom and declared that he was a terrorist and had a bomb, reported Cerritos College President-Superintendent Jose Fierro at a news conference following the incident.

Note that the incident began at 11:53 a.m., however, the first RAVE alerts did not go out until nearly an hour later, at 12:45 p.m. In this extensive gap, only students in close vicinity to the threat had some idea of what was happening.

While alarms went off across campus at 12:28, the order to shelter in place was not made until the third set of announcements, and the nature of the threat was still not made clear.

RAVE advertises itself as a fast and reliable system that delivers information to a population in a simple manner, yet when it was time to prove that these claims were accurate the system fell frighteningly short.

Students and faculty alike were left with little to no information, leading to cries that there was an active shooter on campus.

Classes and buildings were poorly locked down, with some students discovering that some of the classrooms had doors that couldn’t be locked at all.

That fact that this needs to be addressed at all is completely unacceptable.

But due to the harsh reality of the new times we are living in these things have to be called out and taken into serious consideration.

Perhaps one of the largest concern is that some instructors even left on their own accord during the shelter-in-place.

There is no logic behind students being forced to watch as their leader, or in this case, gatekeeper runs scared whilst instructing them to remain where they are.

All these factors create a school that is unprepared and unequipped to handle a situation like this.

Campus police can only do so much in the face of threats, so going forward, students and faculty must also play their parts.

There are all kinds of different meetings one can attend to voice their opinion as far as safety is concerned.

Board meetings, Senate meetings on campus and City Council meetings are available to all to speak about their opinions and suggestions.

Our community need not be shy, as speaking up will do everyone a greater good.

As we have learned from these events, the only thing that is for certain is that the current system in place currently has failed us.

We must make it clear that student and staff safety should be the number one priority.

Communication should do just that, communicate, and unless measures are taken to update our response policy, Cerritos Colleg may very well find that they are not prepared should a real threat emerge.