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Secretary Mike Leavitt: Review of the Virginia Tech Tragedy

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Overview

The President directed top officials at the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services to participate in a federal review of the broad questions raised by the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech.  HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt will lead the effort to report back to the President with recommendations about helping to avoid such tragedies.

Read the transcript of President Bush’s radio address

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Findings and Recommendations

“We found great commonality in the themes that emerged from our meetings. Following the Virginia Tech tragedy and similar incidents of violence that have occurred in recent years, states and local communi ties are carefully considering whether they have properly addressed and balanced the fundamental interests of privacy and individual freedom, safety and security, and assisting those with mental health needs in getting appropriate care. Although state and local leaders recognized and underscored that these issues primarily must be resolved at the state and local level, these events make all of us ask whether there is more we can and should be doing…. the report serves to focus our attention on the issues that must be part of the ongoing national dialogue as we continue to protect the freedoms we enjoy in our society, while appropriately minimizing risks to public safety.”

Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Report to the President On Issues Raised By The Virginia Tech Tragedy (PDF version)

Remarks by Secretary Leavitt After Presentation of Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy

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National Conversations

Secretary Leavitt is traveling the nation to begin a thoughtful national dialogue to help determine where and how the federal government can help states and communities avoid such tragedies in the future. He will meet with educators, mental health experts, and state and local officials across America.

  • Texas, April 30, 2007
  • "When tragedies like this happen, it causes us to reevaluate whether we are doing all we can to protect our students and citizens.  That's why we are here today; to have discussions with key leaders in the law enforcement, education and healthcare communities to ensure we are fully prepared to not only respond to a tragedy when the unthinkable happens, but to prevent it altogether because of rapid intervention in a troubled person's life."
  • -- Governor Rick Perry
  • Florida, April 30, 2007
  • "The hearts of Floridians have gone out to the families of the victims of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and the compassion we feel for them urges us to be prudent and review our own state’s emergency plans for schools and college campuses.  Florida’s already advanced level of disaster preparedness will serve as a strong foundation for Florida’s law enforcement, education and mental health agencies and partners to develop the best safety plans possible."
  • -- Governor Charlie Crist
  • Tennessee, April 28, 2007
  • “Not one of us has gone untouched by the events that unfolded at Virginia Tech.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our neighbors in Virginia and the loved ones of the victims in this tragedy.  We need to take the lessons from this tragedy, and work to better protect all citizens from violence of any kind. I welcome the opportunity to be part of the conversation that may help our state and others work through these serious issues."
  • -- Governor Phil Bredesen
  • Colorado, April 27, 2007
  • “Colorado has unfortunately learned painful lessons from the tragedy at Columbine High School.  We will do everything we can to share those lessons and experiences, especially at a time like this when the nation’s attention is focused so intently on what happened at Virginia Tech."
  • -- Governor Bill Ritter
  • Utah, April 27, 2007
    Secretary Leavitt had a pr oductive discussion with Governor Jon Huntsman and other local Utah leaders about what can be learned from this tragedy.
  • West Virginia, April 26, 2007
    “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those directly affected by last week’s violence. What happened is devastating and we must quickly begin to explore ways to prevent it from happening again.”
    --Governor Joe Manchin
  • Minnesota, April 26, 2007
    “Our state and nation come together to mourn the senseless loss of life and support the victims, families, and friends who are still reeling from this tragedy.”
    -- Governor Tim Pawlenty

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