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A Plan To Prevent Virginia Tech-Like Tragedies

April 17, 2007

I just saw this in Britain’s Guardian Unlimited:
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“Virginia shootings prompt call for student text alerts”

[by Debbie Andalo]

“Every US college and university should introduce a mobile phone text alert system for students in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, a charity demanded today. Security On Campus, which is devoted to preventing violence and crime on US campuses, said every college should consider introducing such a system as part of campus security plans.

The charity, set up 20 years ago following the murder of student Jeanne Clery in her dormitory, said if such a system had been in place at Virginia Tech, students would have known to stay off the campus as soon as the first shootings took place yesterday morning at around 7.15am.

Katherine Andriole, the charity’s assistant programme director, told EducationGuardian.co.uk: ‘We believe this can be an opportunity for schools, colleges and universities in the US to improve their safety policies.’

‘What we are supporting right now is the need for a personal text messaging alert service so that every student gets the same message during a developing situation.’

Ms Andriole admitted it would have been difficult for any university to prepare for what happened at Virginia Tech because the tragedy was unprecedented.

But she is calling for an extension of a warning scheme adopted by some US colleges in which police can tell students to stay in their rooms and keep off the campus during emergencies.

In 1990, the charity was instrumental in bringing about a new law in the US, the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, which puts a legal obligation on every university college to collate campus crime statistics and develop a campus safety policy.”

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This could work. Every student I see on campus has a cell phone, and more and more are aware of the advantages of “texting.” – TL

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