Bosco shootings amp security talk

Kelsey Coles
News Reporter

While National School Safety Week has just concluded, Humber College has many ongoing procedures and programs in place to stay on top of student safety.

Concerns about school settings have been running high this year in the wake of a school shooting at Etobicoke’s Don Bosco Secondary School, near Humber’s North campus, in which two students became Toronto’s 44th and 45th homicide victims this year.

Rob Kilfoyle, Humber’s Director of Public Safety, said Humber has protocols in case anything posing a risk to public safety occurred on campus.

“If we were to have an incident on campus that posed an immediate risk to life, like a shooter on campus, we have lock down procedures in place,” Kilfoyle said. “We send out a P.A. (Public Address) announcement all throughout the school.

“We have a good community culture,” he continued. “If you have a positive and safe culture on campus, where people feel respected, where things like racism aren’t tolerated, it provides a sense of security.”

Kilfoyle said Humber also has a safety procedure referred to as the “hold and secure,” usually more applicable to the public school system but available on campus if there was imminent danger nearby.

“If Toronto Police (Services) alert us to something dangerous happening in the community we can initiate what we call a hold and secure,” Kilfoyle said. “That’s when we inform everyone on campus not to leave and to stay put until we’re told by police that it’s safe.”

Second-year Early Childhood Education student Christina Cimmino, 20, was involved in a hold and secure procedure at her course placement during the recent Don Bosco shootings.

“The principal came on the P.A. and said that the school was in a hold and secure,” Cimmino said, noting the orders were promptly acted upon.

“The teacher quickly put a piece of paper over the eye hole of the door, shut the windows and closed the blinds,” she said. “The principal kept us updated over the P.A. system to let us know what was going on and eventually the children went home.”

Humber Residence also has extra procedures when it comes to student safety.

“The red HELP buttons located on each floor will give the residents direct contact to public safety,” said Humber residence assistant Cara Vanmassenhoven. She said the buttons, newly installed this year, are a replacement for the phones previously installed in each student’s room.

Kilfoyle said Humber would run a lockdown exercise in the second week of November.