Explosion at Northeastern raises school safety concerns

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Northeastern University campus

As school rolls back into a new fall session, concerns about school safety, or lack thereof, continues to linger, both at Universities and local school districts. Only worsening this fear and distress, a package exploded at Northeastern University on September 14, 2022, only a few weeks into the new school year.

The package, which was described as a “Pelican-style” briefcase, was delivered to the Holmes Hall of Northeastern University and instantly detonated when an unidentified staff member unknowingly opened it.

Once settling the panic and chaos of students and local citizens, federal officials began investigating into the deeper details of the event. There is now suspicion that the teacher who reported the explosion planned the event as there were inconsistencies in their story; the reported wounds do not line up with the typical injuries associated with typical explosions. Investigations are still ongoing and there has yet to be a published report of the exact events and its details.

The worst aspect of this entire event was Northeastern’s response. Many neighboring universities, such as Harvard and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), shut down and canceled classes for the following day. These procedures were an immediate protective response to ensure their students’ safety and lives.

However, the same was not done at Northeastern, where all classes continued and schedules stayed the same as if nothing had happened. While some could argue this was an attempt to prevent fear or worsening nerves amongst the student body, their real safety should have been prioritized. After a major and unclear event such as this, extreme precautions must be taken. It is the best way to protect students and ensure there are no lingering dangers or threats.

Current Northeastern freshman, Nathalie Abello shares deeper insight into the handling of the explosion. “The only information or updates we received were minor, such as an email that read “Emergency services responding to an incident at Holmes Hall. Please avoid the area”, followed by another post five minutes later stating “Evening classes in Behrakis, Shillman, Ryder, Kariotis, Dockser, and West F are canceled”.

In a time like this, the school must be honest and transparent. It is unwise and dangerous to not clearly state the event or share full knowledge of the explosion. Students have the right to know what is going on on their campus as it is their current home and it would allow them to best assess how they would like to approach safety measures. Sheltering students in this stage is not the best approach and that appears to be what Northeastern had done. It is evident that the school was extremely lacking communication and only left the students more fearful and confused.

Abello shares that “the only reason I heard about the explosion was via my mom who called me five times and left a frantic voicemail.” Her mother, who is states away, received news and updates sooner than Abello who was only a couple miles from the explosion. This is simply a lack of concern for the students and a failure to keep them involved, especially in such a serious situation.

This startling and frightening explosion lends to the greater and continuous issue of school safety nationwide. In this event, it is apparent that minimal, if any, changes have been made to not only protect students, but also to ease their fears and nerves of their safety. Change needs to be made now so that students nationwide can feel truly secure and safe in their schools.