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Readout of Secretary DeVos’ Meeting with Experts and Survivors of Mass Shootings

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today held an informational meeting with survivors and family members impacted by the mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Parkland, in addition to authors of official reports following incidents of school violence.

“In order to move forward, we must take a hard look back,” said Secretary DeVos. “We convened this meeting of experts and survivors to help give us a clear-eyed look at what has gone wrong in the past, the lessons learned and areas where we continue to fall short as we work to keep our nation’s students and teachers safe at school.  It’s imperative that we as a nation join together to ensure every student attends school in a safe and nurturing learning environment, and this meeting will lay the foundation for the critical work that lies ahead.”

Thursday’s meeting consisted of two sets of discussions. The first highlighted lessons learned from previous school tragedies. Presenters included:

  • Troy Eid, ex-officio member of the Columbine Review Commission (Statement)
  • Michael Mulhare, assistant vice president for Emergency Management at Virginia Tech University (Statement)
  • Marisa Reddy Randazzo, chief research psychologist of the U.S. Secret Service (Statement)
  • William Modzeleski, a senior consultant with several groups specializing in school safety, threat assessment, emergency management and homeland security (Statement)

The second discussion consisted of participants directly impacted by school shootings. Presenters included:

  • Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, the first student killed at Columbine High School
  • Derek O’Dell, a survivor of the Virginia Tech University attack (Statement)
  • Scarlett and J.T. Lewis, who lost their son and brother, respectively, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (StatementStatement)
  • Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter Alaina in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Photo: U.S. Department of Education

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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