St. Louis-area universities are beefing up security in response to the Virginia Tech massacre, says the St. Louis Post-Disaptch. At Missouri Baptist University, a resident assistant picked up a protective mask and pellet gun and pretended he was holding some of his friends hostage. Teams of police officers and college security officers wearing full body armor took turns going from room to room yesterday, stepping over students who screamed, “Help! Don’t leave me!” and “I’m bleeding!”
Most colleges are considering subscribing to – or have already signed up for – services that allow them to text message all students and staff instantly in an emergency. The prospect of another Virginia Tech hit home last month when a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student was charged with writing a note threatening a “murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting.” Authorities said the student had ordered four semiautomatic weapons over the Internet. Missouri colleges are awaiting recommendations due out next week from a campus security task force that Gov. Matt Blunt convened soon after Virginia Tech. One area of particular interest is the committee’s recommendations on whether campus public safety officers should carry weapons. Some school police carry guns. Others have unarmed security officers. The University of Missouri St. Louis police department has ordered Tasers and patrol rifles – equipment it has not previously stocked. Samples said those purchases were under consideration before Virginia Tech.