Improvements to School Safety after the Virginia Tech Shootings

The Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 were not only a tragedy but also a learning experience. Government officials, law enforcement officers and school administrators all ended up making some very important changes to school and government policies, laws and even the way that tactical officers handle school violence. That may be the only good thing to come out of such a tragedy—changes that will keep students safe in schools and hopefully from ever having to experience the same type of tragedy as so many did that day back in April of 2007.

The shootings resulted in not only changes to gun laws and the way that school violence is handled but it also raised all kinds of questions in regard to the privacy laws that allowed the shooter to enroll in the school without having to divulge his extensive history of mental illness. Police and school officials were criticized for not having done enough about not only his known history with mental illness but also complaints filed against him for stalking two female students at Virginia Tech in 2005. While pointing fingers won’t likely solve anything now, there were some positive changes made.

Here is a look at the improvements made to school safety after the Virginia Tech shootings.

  • Thirty-eight states have banned students from carrying or using weapons in schools – sixteen of which have specifically banned guns from any part of a college campus.
  • I March of 2008, the attempt to allow concealed weapons on college campuses by Delegate Gilbert was defeated.
  • EBay stopped allowing the sale of firearm parts and ammunition on the popular site after it was learned that the shooter had purchased 10-round magazines for his gun on the site.
  • Schools in the US as well as abroad made changes to their own school safety policies and procedures in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings.
  • Changes to then Federal Gun Laws were made and loopholes that allowed the shooter, who was deemed mentally unstable, to purchase a gun were closed. Now someone with a known history of mental illness like Seung-Hui Cho are not allowed to purchase guns or ammunition.

For the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy these changes come a little too late. Had things such as his mental health history been looked at more closely and had the gun laws been passed sooner, there’s a chance that things may never have escalated to the level that they did. Looking back won’t change what happened but the lessons learned by officials that day have certainly had a positive impact on the safety of our schools and colleges.