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15 years after worst school shooting, most recommendations not adopted as tragedy strikes again

Many of the measures, which focused on mental health rather than gun control, have not been adopted on a national basis.

Published: May 24, 2022 10:04pm

Updated: May 25, 2022 12:40am

After 32 people were killed 15 years ago in a shooting at Virginia Tech, many state and federal safety recommendations were made, but not all were implemented. 

Today, many are left wondering how to prevent yet another mass shooting after the massacre of at least 19 elementary school students on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

In 2007, then-President George W. Bush ordered his cabinet to come up with a series of recommendations after the shooting. The group made more than 30 local, state and federal recommendations.

Many of the measures, which focused on mental health rather than gun control, have not been adopted on a national basis.

The top finding from the Bush report was: "Education officials, healthcare providers, law enforcement personnel, and others are not fully informed about when they can share critical information on persons who are likely to be a danger to self or others, and the resulting confusion may chill legitimate information sharing."

Bush's cabinet secretaries also recommended broader implementation of the FBI's National Instant Background checks, "improved awareness and communication" and better mental health services.

It is unclear whether these factors played a role in Tuesday's shooting in Texas.

The suspect has been identified by police as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, of Uvalde. He allegedly shot his grandmother before the elementary school rampage that left at least 21 dead, plus himself, making it one of the deadlist school shootings in history.

Three days after the Virignia Tech shooting in 2007, then-Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine assembled the Virginia Tech Review Panel.

The committee made 91 safety proposals in its 260-page report.

Two members of Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's cabinet had staffers review the recommendations after the 2019 Virginia Beach shooting.

The review found that of the 91 proposals, 53 had been fully adopted and 21 partially adopted in the state.

Like the Bush cabinet, the Kaine report also recommended better information sharing about potentially dangerous individuals, proposing changes to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). While the U.S. Department of Education became more flexible with FERPA's "emergency" exception, most of the Kaine report's other FERPA recommendations were not adopted.

Other proposals from the state report that were not adopted include one that would have required college law enforcement to report student detention orders to school authorities, the counseling center and parents.

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