By: Bill Bosher
The Virginia Supreme Court has overturned a wrongful death suit by two families of students killed at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. While no amount of money or litigation can resolve the pain of families of those who were lost, there continues to be debate about who is responsible.
Virginia Tech and other institutions have spent millions of dollars since the tragedy, and yet, there is no fail-safe way to protect young people, or children, from mental illness. While elementary and secondary schools attempt to provide supervision, proper instruction, and foreseeability, the safest institutions would look like penal facilities… jails. Yet, you cannot build walls thick enough or high enough to guard against those who want to inflict harm.
While all schools are continuing to seek ways to improve communication, Virginia Tech and elementary schools like Sandy Hook were doing what they were suppose to do. Principals have frequently asked if I wanted the schools to be secure or accessible…I would reply both! While the Supreme Court overturned the notion that administrators at Virginia Tech had a "special relationship" to their students that required them to alert the campus after the first two shootings, the reality is that police and administrators believed that the shooter had left the campus.
As a principal I learned that if you evacuate the building each time there is a bomb threat, you better prepare to spend Spring on the front lawn. While the presence of evil is incomprehensible, to allow the threat of evil to control us is truly debilitating.