Virginia Tech was fined the maximum fine allowed under the Clery Act of $55,000 for waiting almost two hours before warning students, faculty and staff of an active shooter on campus.
Lessons Learned: Colleges and Universities must develop, implement and follow clearly defined policies and procedures for notifying students and staff in emergency situations. School Administrators may want to create customizable, organizational and situational specific templates prior to an incident so the warning messages are already defined and the appropriate processes are understood by all appropriate personnel. Organizations must also have customized emergency and crisis management plans and ensure all individuals (students, faculty, staff, administration, law enforcement, etc.) understand their roles and responsibilities before, during and after an incident occurs. Lastly, lessons learned clearly teach schools that proactive and prepared prevention efforts are much less expensive than the incidents, fines, lawsuits and reputational damages.