- January 20, 2012
- Current Affairs
In the wake of the 2009 and the recent Virginia Tech tragedies, every parent with a college-aged child is bound to be concerned about student safety on campus. Due to a federal law enacted by Congress in 1990 called the Jeanne Clery Act, schools must make timely warnings to the campus faculty and staff about crimes that pose an ongoing or imminent threat.
Under the Clery Act, colleges must also publish annual statistics about campus crime and school security policies. These statistics and policies are often available on the university’s website. These safety reports are especially helpful to prospective students (and their parents) who are searching for a college, based upon its safety record as well as its reputation for academic excellence.
The Jeanne Clery Act is named in honor of 19-year old Lehigh University student, Jeanne Ann Clery, who was sexually assaulted and murdered while she was asleep in her dorm room on April 5, 1986. After her death, her parents, Connie and Howard, learned that the student body had not been informed of 38 violent crimes that had occurred on the campus within three years of Jeanne’s murder.
Connie and Howard Cleary joined with other college campus victims to persuade Congress to enact the “The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.”
Samford University and other colleges across the country are using an innovative security notification system called RAVE Alert. The state-of-the-art system is used to warn students and faculty, via cell phone, about imminent emergencies on campus — ranging from natural threats such as tornadoes and earthquakes — to acts of violence by active shooters or other perpetrators. Text messages can also be relayed to students in non-emergencies, advising of class cancellations, school closures or campus traffic alerts.
Students have the option to subscribe to the RAVE Alert emergency notification system on campus, using mobile devices to receive campus security notifications via 2-way SMS text messages, e-mail, RSS feeds and social media channels. RAVE notifications can also be instantly transmitted to campus signage and PA systems by campus security.
The manufacturer, called RAVE Mobile Safety, provides schools with additional security system options, including a GPS navigational system called RAVE Guardian. This system allows for campus security to immediately view a student’s location, identification, class schedule, medical profile and other critical data, once the student calls in with an emergency.
An optional module allows student to set a timer, which can automatically notify campus security in the event the student is in trouble. This is especially useful for students traveling alone across campus during evening hours. Once the student arrives at his/her destination, the student can deactivate the timer to alert security that he or she has arrived safely. If the timer is not deactivated, campus security can immediately find the student, via GPS navigation.
Because the safety technology allows students and security the ability to communicate instantaneously with one another, many colleges report a reduction in crime since using one or more of the RAVE security systems.
The doctrine of negligent security says that a university or school may be held liable for injuries to students during an assault or attack if the school failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing a student from being harmed by a third party on school property, including the failure to adequately warn students of a foreseeable threat to their safety.
If you or a loved one has been harmed or injured due to inadequate or negligent security on a school campus (pre-school through college), contact the Wininger Law Firm to arrange for a confidential, free consultation.