NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — On the fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, Sen. Robert Menendez introduced a bill that would increase penalties against colleges and universities that don’t warn students about campus emergencies.
“Our goal is to have campuses, colleges and universities across the country have a clearly defined program and one that is executed to save lives,” Menendez said.
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The bill is named after Michael Pohle, Jr., of Flemington, who was one of 33 people killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. On Monday, his mother tearfully remembered the morning of April 16, 2007.
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“To lose a child is the most heart-wrenching thing you can ever go through,” Teresa Pohle told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. “We have one more going to college in the fall and we are scared to death and we just pray that he’ll be okay, because I can’t imagine losing another child.”
Student Seung Hui-Cho first killed two people in a Virginia Tech dorm. Two hours later, he went on a shooting spree across campus that left 31 students and one professor dead before he turned the gun on himself.
Harry Pryde said his daughter, Julia, of Middletown, N.J., was in the basement of her department’s building using a computer and had warnings been issued “she would’ve stayed there.”
However, when school officials failed to sound the alarm, dozens of students were left as unwitting victims. Julia Pryde was killed while sitting in an advanced hydrology class.
“Virginia Tech could have and should have done much more,” Menendez said. “They didn’t alert the student body of the situation until 9:26, two hours later.”
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