By Morgan Roberts, Sacajawea Scroll
Today, delegates will attend an active shooter presentation at Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall.
Lt. Michael Burgeson of the Yankton Police Department will give the demonstration.
Burgeson has been traveling for four years teaching people all over the state how to react in an active shooter situation. He has spent time presenting in Ohio, Nevada and South Dakota.
When asked in an interview with the Sacajawea Scroll over the phone what he wanted the delegates to get out of the presentation Burgeson said: “Never stop. You need to have the will to survive and just keep fighting.”
Under the current political and security climate of the country, this couldn’t come at a better time.
“Our goal is to save lives to stop these people from becoming victims. They have a right to life,” Burgeson said.
Delegates have discussed the issues with school shootings and gun safety throughout the week at South Dakota Girls State.
Multiple delegates have asked the visiting speakers about this issue, and Burgeson’s presentation will give delegates more information about the prevalent problem.
According to the New York Times, more than 400 people have been shot in more than 200 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
For students, it’s creating a fear that they’re no longer safe at school.
“There should never have to be a school shooting,” said Madison Nuttall, a Washington delegate. “It should never come to that, but the fact that it has and so rapidly and so many of them is honestly terrifying.”
Some delegates said they feel the active shooter presentation will be helpful.
“I am very thankful that they are going to have that information available to us so that we know what to do should we ever be in a situation like it,” said Cleveland delegate Courtney Heath. “We will be able to take this information back to our hometowns and tell people this is what you need to do and how we should respond.”
Some still have doubts about how other delegates will handle talking about the shootings. However, some who are concerned feel the presentation will be beneficial overall.
“I definitely think it’s a good idea. It might be hard for some people given current situations, but I think it will be a good way to raise awareness,” said Lauren Thompson, a Detroit delegate.
Some delegates claimed they had a general lack of knowledge on how to respond in the case of a school shooting.
“If that came back to my school I don’t know what I would do,” said Tavie Guzman, a Cleveland delegate.