Secret Service releases guidelines to prevent school violence; local officials,activist respond

ROANOKE,Va. – Louis Garcia, 16, is the founder of the Roanoke Valley chapter of Students Demand Action.

The organization is known for actively speaking out against gun violence in schools here and across the nation. 

“With students dying because of school shootings, I could not be another statistic. I wanted to get out and get involved,” said Garcia.

Garcia's voice, along with the voices of other students across the nation, has been heard.
The Secret Service released a report that outlined how schools nationwide can work with students, their communities and law enforcement agencies to prevent future tragedies while never touching on any changes to gun laws. 

“The memo the Secret Service released is important because it helps students find out how to report a problem and speak out about something without feeling like something will happen to them and be reprimanded by another student,” Garcia said.

That is one of the key suggestions from the report -to encourage students and others to comfortably step forward and flag suspicious behavior. 

While there is no standard profile of a potential attacker, the report states that threat assessment teams need to be diverse. The teams should include teachers, guidance counselors, school resource officers and mental health professionals.

Delegate Danny Marshall, from Danville, is the vice chair of a state committee on school violence.
He said making Virginia schools safer is a top priority.

“Statistics show that the safest place for kids is in a school. If you look at the amount of time they spend in schools versus other places, that's what statistics show,” said Marshall.

Ten News contacted the school systems in our region. We were told by officials that they are taking the time to review this new information and will be discussing ways to implement the guidelines. 

Garcia said the report is a great step forward, but the fight continues. 

 “One thing is: I am not going anywhere. I am going to stand up for what I believe in, whether you like it or not,” said Garcia.