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 (Statement, Statement)
- Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter Alaina in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
Photo: U.S. Department of Education
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