Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jury Finds Virginia Tech Negligent in April 2007 Shooting Tragedy

Over the past five years I have worked diligently to prevent campus violence by addressing the failures of Virginia Tech with the April 2007 tragedy that left 32 people dead and many others injured.

On March 14, 2012 a jury found Virginia Tech negligent in their response to the tragedy and families seeking truth, accountability and consequences had their perseverence served with the verdict. Celeste Petersen, mother of Erin Petersen who was killed stated, "We wanted truth from the beginning and we got it. All I know is today we got what we wanted."

This verdict is not only a moral victory for the families but a reminder that sound leadership, competence and judgement are required for all entrusted with protecting educational communities.

Aside from this decision, a Federal Report also stated Virginia Tech failed to warn the campus as memorialized in my previous blog:

Federal Report: Virginia Tech Violated Law Failing to Warn the Campus

December 11, 2011 Blog

Since the April 16, 2007 tragedy, I have stated emphatically in my presentations, blogs, response and newest book Listen To Their Cries, that Virginia Tech failed their community with an inexcusable response to the tragedy. Essentially, I have expressed their response as a failure of judgment, competence and leadership that allowed more than two hours to pass after the first killings before issuing an alert to their campus. Compounding this failure was another clear expression of egregious negligence, their warning was vague. The results were the senseless and preventable deaths of 30 more community members after the first two murders and many additional injuries.

On December 9, 2010 my teachings on the failure of Virginia Tech were affirmed by the findings of the United States Department of Education’s report and were published in reports throughout the nation.

Reprinted From Google News

Feds: Va. Tech broke law in '07 shooting response

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Federal education officials have found Virginia Tech broke the law when it waited two hours to warn the campus that a gunman was on the loose, too late to save 30 students and faculty who went to class and were killed in the 2007 rampage.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a report Thursday rejecting the university's defense of its conduct and confirming that the school violated the Clery Act, which requires that students and employees be notified of on-campus threats.

The report concludes that the university failed to issue a timely warning to the Blacksburg campus after student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed two students in a dormitory early on the morning of April 16, 2007.

"Virginia Tech's failure to issue timely warnings about the serious and ongoing threat deprived its students and employees of vital, time-sensitive information and denied them the opportunity to take adequate steps to provide for their own safety," the report stated.

Virginia Tech officials did not send an e-mail to the campus community about the shootings until two hours later, about the time Cho was chaining shut the doors to a classroom building where he killed 30 more students and faculty, then himself.

It is my hope that this United States Department of Education report serves truth, accountability and consequences and that these issues are further served by the pending lawsuits against the university by victims of the tragedy.


USDOE Report Click here to visit site
Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide For Schools And Communities Click here to visit site
The Handbook for Campus Crime Reporting Click here to visit site
Virginia Tech Blogs Click here to visit site

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