NEWS & ANALYSIS

Another Day, Another Tragedy: Most Safety Recommendations Made, Not Implemented 15 Years After Worst School Shooting


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

On Tuesday, at least 19 elementary school students and two teachers were killed in Uvalde, Texas, leaving the nation in shock and wondering how to prevent yet another mass shooting. 

As reported by Just the News, 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. However, many of them – which focused on mental health rather than stricter gun control measures – 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.”

The 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, as information is still coming out. 

We do know that the suspect has been identified by police as 18-year-old Salvadoro Ramos of Uvalde. He allegedly shot his grandmother before the elementary school massacre that left 21 dead. He also died. 

Three days after the Virginia Tech shooting, then-Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine assembled the Virginia Tech Review Panel, which made 91 safety proposals in a 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 Virginia.

The Kaine report also recommended better information sharing about potentially dangerous individuals, proposing changes to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. While the U.S. Department of Education became more flexible with its “emergency” exception, most of the Kaine report’s other FERPA recommendations were not adopted.