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Is Dawson a Safe Place?

By Zach Jutras-Ouellette

School security guard - Via Ed2Go

Dawson sets the bar for many CEGEP standards, but can we say the same for school safety? Is Dawson’s security enough to keep Dawson members safe?

The Dawson shooting in 2006 that killed Anastasia De Sousa and injured 19 others has left a dark shadow over the college. The tragic incident hinders people’s thoughts on Dawson’s safety even 13 years later. Many first-semester students walk into Dawson filled with fear after hearing about the shooting.

One first-semester student, Faiza Rahman, admits that “there are a few moments where I feel unsafe at Dawson. Because of the shooting, I have to be aware of my surroundings.” She goes on to say that when she is in other public places, she feels differently: “when I’m at a mall or a park, I don’t feel the need to be cautious.” She adds, “I barely see security around. Sure, it happened a long time ago, but it can happen again.”

While Rahman is uncertain about her safety at Dawson, another student, Sofia Vela, says, “I feel safe because of the security presence and the amount of people all over the school.” Both individuals interviewed are first semester students, but have two completely different perspectives.

"Dawson’s security is present and takes their tasks seriously. The security team hopes to reassure everyone they can feel safe when they arrive on campus."

There certainly is a lack of knowledge regarding the security details at Dawson. Evening supervisor, Vardan Sarukhanyan, encourages other Dawson members to ask some questions of their own. Sarukhanyan gives the breakdown of how Dawson security operates. They supervise parking, take and make calls, monitor cameras all over the building, and on average, deploy three agents throughout the building. He discloses that the emergency response time is “as quick as possible, but it does depend on the level of severity.” Sarukhanyan says “safety starts with order. If everyone inside the school follows the policies and protocols, things should be fine.”

While that information is useful, one can still wonder whether students and faculty are safe at Dawson. Sarukhanyan explains that “people outside of Dawson know about Dawson’s security presence.” He thinks that the school is known for not taking security lightly and that no one would come to the college to cause issues with that in mind. When they see something suspicious, “the security team can only pay more attention to these people until they do something out of the ordinary or violate a rule.” They do not judge people on their appearance, but will react based on their actions.

He adds that “when someone is not following the rules, security will ask them the reason for their visit, listen to their response ,and observe how they react. If their answer is insufficient or if they act poorly towards an agent, they will be asked to leave.” Dawson’s security is present and takes their tasks seriously. The security team hopes to reassure everyone they can feel safe when they arrive on campus.


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