BOWIE, Md. (DC News Now) — Students at Bowie State University are preparing to head back to class for the first time after a shooting injured two people on campus last weekend.
The university gave students a week off from classes following the shooting, hoping to give them time to focus on their mental health and recharge.
The shooting is still fresh in the minds of many students as they head into the classroom Monday. Our DC News Now crews checked in with several students walking the campus grounds Sunday evening.
“People were running, scattering. I just had to run, people were falling on the ground,” said Bowie State sophomore Aaron Howell, recalling what happened last weekend.
“I started texting people, asking if everyone was okay,” said Malcolm Foxx, a freshman. “Everyone said they heard the gunshots.”
“It’s been like a ghost town. A lot of students went home to be with their families during this time,” said freshman Ian Brown.
The school implemented several new security policies and proposed even more while students were away.
A larger presence of guards and marked vehicles, stricter security measures at gates and checkpoints, along with an updated campus alert system are already in place.
Students said the university’s quick actions sent the right message.
“The university is taking the right precautions to protect us as students,” said Brown.
Still under consideration are the addition of gunshot tracking technology, artificial intelligence-based weapons detection systems and active shooter training for students and staff.
Campuses around the region are also ramping up security in response to recent violence.
At Morgan State University in Baltimore, five people were shot during campus homecoming celebrations one week before the Bowie State shooting. Morgan State officials say they’re now looking to hire two dozen more officers for its police force and adding hundreds of security cameras on campus.
In D.C., American University released a statement to staff and students earlier this month regarding shootings on local campuses. Leaders there are looking at potential changes to its policies, including arming its campus police officers for the first time.
At Bowie State, the school is urging students to continue reaching out for help should they need it. Leaders are also encouraging students to take an active role in helping to keep campus safe as they head back to class.