Letter to Senator Kennedy regarding Virginia Tech
April 20, 2007
Dear Chairman Kennedy:
In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy that unfolded this week at Virginia Tech, the National Education Association (NEA) is deeply concerned for the safety of higher education students and faculty across the country.
We believe it is critical to engage in a national dialogue about strengthening our laws to ensure that schools can take proper action to protect faculty and students. Developing realistic strategies to address this increasing threat is imperative and one of the ways that we can honor the memory of those who have lost their lives on America's school campuses.
In particular, we urge you to use the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to reexamine restrictions on how universities can deal with students who show warning signs of violent behavior. For example, it appears that several Virginia Tech faculty and students reported concerns to authorities regarding Cho Seung-Hui's violent writings and stalking of female students. Yet, current law prevented the university from removing him from the campus or requiring him to undergo any sort of counseling. While we certainly support privacy and anti-discrimination laws, we would hope Congress could find ways to broaden the options available to colleges and universities in such extreme circumstances.
We thank you in advance for your consideration of these critical issues and look forward to working with you to ensure safe teaching and learning environments on our nation's college campuses.
Reg Weaver, President
National Education Association