In light of the Virginia Polytechnic University massacres in Blacksburg, the bloodiest school shooting rampage in American history, students are beginning to rethink the actuality of their safety.
Thirty-two innocent students and teachers were gunned-down on April 16 by Cho Seung-Hui, a permanent U.S. resident from South Korea. This national tragedy, not unlike the Columbine shootings, has spawned copycat threats.
Hysteria surrounding the incident forced schools in 10 states to implement lockdowns due to suspicious activities. At North Dakota State University in Fargo, seven buildings were completely evacuated when an unclaimed duffel bag was found at a bus stop.
Some of the copycat criminals mentioned the massacre at Virginia Tech, such as a 53-year-old man who was arrested in southeastern Louisiana after giving a ominous note to a student saying, “if you think that (the Virginia Tech massacre) was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet,” according to school superintendent Jerry Payne.
Aftershocks from the massacre lingered three days later as many Yuba-Sutter schools went on lockdown when Jeffrey Carney allegedly made threats to “make Virginia Tech look mild.”
Despite the threats, classes at Yuba College were held until 4 p.m. after police and administrators shared information about proper safety precautions.
Yuba College and many other area schools decided to remain closed on Friday, the April 20.
Yuba College student Jeniffer Tucker said that she believes that the college implements “definite good security measures,” but went on to say, “I doubt that any campus is prepared for this.”
On Monday, April 23, Kevin Trutna, Vice President of Academic and Student Services, sent an email to all district staff through a listserv, explaining, “If anyone has lasting stress or personal issues, David Farrell (the Dean of Student Services) has notified our counseling staff who are available to talk to students who may need some assistance.”
However, many students remained unaware of counseling that was available. Tucker said that she thought the administration should “have people available and make their names known.”
In response to the Virginia Tech shootings, Mark Drummond, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, sent an email to those on the Chancellor’s office listserv, saying, “We must absorb and adapt lessons learned in order to prepare our own campuses – from assessment and mitigation to response and recovery. Both state and federal laws mandate that educational institutions plan and prepare for all types of disasters, ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff.”
Drummond’s office secured a grant from the Governor’s Homeland Security Office to support districts and colleges in assessing risks and to strengthening their preparedness. The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has contracted the Global Community College, Inc. to provide leadership in completing the Disaster Resistant California Community Colleges project.