What’s next? Are we ready?

At the beginning of this semester, a veteran student had a breakdown in Building 5. This caused us at The View to wonder, how prepared are we for an emergency at Skyline College? Manuel Peix, an Instructional Aide from the Learning Center, was the one who helped that student. The unknown student apparently had a flashback as someone mentioned his lost war partner’s name in the classroom. According to Peix, the veteran student had what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after fighting in World War II. Many students have had bad experiences fighting in war, and simply hearing the name of their tragically dead partners can ignite bad memories. Two students saw the veteran student hitting himself on the head in Building 5 near the stairs in the hallway. They ran inside the Writing Center to report it, and Peix was the one who helped the unknown veteran student.

“As I saw him, I realized that he was having a breakdown,” Peix said. “I helped him for five to ten minutes as the secretary helped me to make a call.” He wanted to have the number to Psychological Services so he could call them immediately and ask for advice, but it was nowhere to be found in the booklet posted near the campus public phone. He was trained during a Flex Day, but he was not able to do as he thought was best because his training was very general.

“I did what I could, and I stepped back as the Public Safety people arrived.” He added, “It was not traumatic for me, but was scary.”

Furthermore, he described what happened two years ago, as students reported that a student had been shot. Peix had seen and heard this student laughing and playing around with two other students prior to the incident. When Peix heard what had happened, he could not believe what the student was saying because he thought the student had been joking.

Judith Cheung helped Peix and called Public Safety in the veteran student emergency. She had a hard time remembering what happened, but said, “He was not in the Writing Center; he was in the hallway of Building 5.”

Chief Tupper was busy on Friday, but did say, “I love to be able to train the student body on how to respond in an emergency.” There is no doubt that he is willing to help, and The View acknowledges that Emergency Response Guides are posted near the public phones on every floor, but it feels like we should take the lead and prepare for a crisis ahead of time. Public Safety does not have a schedule posted on its door or a message recorded through its 4199 extension advising what to do in the event of an emergency. Many are aware that they can call 911, but if we are in shock we may not know what to do.

Tupper said that on the day of the bomb scare, all the students should have received an email, but not all did. He feels that we are prepared as a community, but believes there are about 10,000 students and every single one of us should have a plan. Too many heads thinking and deciding what to do without a guide may only create chaos.