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States, Campuses Looking to Improve School, College Security

April 20, 2007  | 

Universities, schools and state governments across the nation have responded to the Virginia Tech tragedy by reviewing their campus safety measures.

Texas state senators voted on April 18 to give all of the state’s colleges access to safety training. Currently, only secondary schools can obtain training from the Texas School Safety Center in San Marcos. Additional money may also be allocated for the center.

In South Carolina, State Senator John Courson is working to create a committee involving police and college and school officials. The group would discuss how to make South Carolina campuses safer.

In Washington on April 18, the state House voted to require all schools adopt and implement safety plans. The bill, which still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, would offer grants to pay for various drills at K-12 schools. Instant messaging systems would also be implemented so there would be improved communication among buildings on campuses.

In Baltimore, on the same day as the Virginia Tech shootings, a city council subcommittee voted for a bill that would put security cameras in every school in the city. According to a city official, the cost of the CCTV systems could be as high as $10 million. The entire city council will vote on the bill April 23.

College campuses are paying particular attention to timely warning systems and technologies. The University of Florida and University of Georgia are looking to implement automatic call alert systems to notify students about extreme emergencies. The University of Washington in Seattle, University of Memphis and University of Iowa are considering using live voice announcements or warning sirens.

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