workplace-violenceAll of us SUNY Central employees were required to register for, and attend, a 90-minute Workplace Violence training session back in August.

“In accordance with NYS Law, SUNY System Administration has implemented required/mandatory Workplace Violence training to help ensure a safe working environment. This training extends to all employees who work within our System Administration locations, inclusive of our Research Foundation and Construction Fund colleagues.

“Even in the absence of any identified risk, employees should be knowledgeable about measures they can take to protect themselves in the workplace. Learn how to:

• Identify Risk Factors
• Prevent Workplace Violence Incidents
• Enhance Personal Safety
• Increase Survivability in Critical Incidents

“Be a part of our pro-active preventative approach to keeping the SUNY community safe!”

I had the idea that the workshop would spend more time diffusing a potentially volatile workplace situation. There was lip service about recognizing someone in a workplace situation who might be “ready to blow.” But it wasn’t the primary focus.

Instead, it was a lot about how you might live if an active shooter situation. There was a lot about flight or fight – flee if can, fight if getting away or hiding is not an option.

The speaker managed to namecheck all sorts of mass shootings, from the school kids and educators in Newtown, CT, to the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords in an Arizona strip mall that left six dead and the Congresswoman gravely wounded to the shooting in Binghamton, NY that killed 13. But there were a whole lot that you never heard about.

The takeaway, my colleagues all agreed, is where the heck would you hide, or run to, if you had to? Those folks with doors were subsequently issued door stops, but those with partial glass walls were less than comforted by this.

As someone with no office door, where I would run would to would depend on what direction the disturbance was coming from. The offices are in one big circle, and I am near the diameter.

For the next two days, it was all we talked about; if that were the intent, it worked. But it mostly made me depressed as hell.

3 Responses to “Mandated Workplace Violence training”

  • fillyjonk says:

    We did the same thing and my reaction was similar.

    My only hope, if a shooter came to my campus? The building I am in is at some distance from everywhere else and unless they specifically targeted Biology, my students and I would probably be able to safely flee….I know that sounds selfish to say it that way but the sad thing about workplace violence is that sometimes it does boil down to ‘can I save myself?’

    To lock most of my classroom doors, I’d have to step out in the hall and use my key – putting myself at risk, and it would be hard to do when scared and pressured (thinking about “I need to keep my students safe”)

    I disliked the active shooter training we did but it wasn’t as bad as the one my chair had to do – she actually had to take part in a real simulation, we just had to watch a really awful (in the sense of sad and unsettling, not in the sense of poorly-made) video and listen to a speaker.

    I know more or less a plan for each room I’m in, but I hate that I have to give brainspace to that.

  • Chris E says:

    Wait… you’re SUNY, too?

    We had one of those speakers, too. Right after that a guy from the company that now runs the cafeteria started talking about “awesome” new options, like fried chicken and gravy on a donut.

    This, of course, made me point out that statistically we have far more to fear from fried chicken and gravy on a donut than we do an active shooter.

    For myself, I’m not afraid. My lab has 24 rock hammers. I pity the a$$hole who attempts to invade my classroom and faces 24 people, some with military training, each armed with 18 pounds of sharpened steel.

  • fillyjonk says:

    Chris: I’ve envisioned braining someone with an overhead projector. I think given a good head of adrenaline I could *just* do it.

    (Not without provocation, of course, but someone coming in the door that I know was going to try to kill my students counts as provocation.)

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