After high school graduation, young people are enthusiastic about going off to college, gaining their independence and entering adulthood. Though their excitement may be premature, it’s their opportunity to prove they can make it without their parents. On the flip side, it can turn out to be a parent’s worst nightmare. Take the Virginia Tech massacre for example. Thirty-two people (students and faculty members) were killed and 25 were wounded this past spring at the hands of a fellow student. A little over 20 years ago, a Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.) student was raped and murdered by a fellow student. While these tragedies aren’t the norm, they do occur. How do these young people avoid becoming victims? How can parents keep their children safe from harm?
After their daughter Jeanne was slain at Lehigh University in 1986, Howard and Connie Clery formed a nonprofit group called Security on Campus, Inc., which lobbied Congress to pass the Jeanne Clery Act. This federal statute was enacted in 1990 and requires colleges and universities that participate in the federal financial aid program to report crimes on and near their campuses. This idea was spawned after the Clerys learned that there were 38 violent acts on the campus that weren’t publicized three years prior to Jeanne entering as a freshman. To find out more, visitwww.securityoncampus.org.
Ultimately, students are responsible for protecting themselves. They should consider these tips when heading to campus to maintain their safety.
Never walk alone. Many college campuses are open, which means that the public is free to roam on the grounds of the campus. You must always travel with a group.
Don’t leave your drink unattended at a bar or club. If someone asks you to dance or you need to take a restroom break, take your drink with you. Never let your drink out of your sight.
Always lock your dorm room. If you need to bathe in the community shower, take your key with you. Never leave your dorm door or the exit door propped open under any circumstances.
Be smart about your consumption of alcohol. Stay sober enough to avoid making risky decisions.
Don’t post your address and photo on myspace.com or facebook.com. Don’t advertise – because strangers, perverts and predators have access to these sites. -yvette caslinjason thompson