The Texas A&M off-campus shooting shows how signing up for school text alerts is a good call for students heading back to school, along with their parents or guardians.
As police in College Station, Texas, responded to reports of a shooting near campus Monday, they issued emergency alerts by email, text message, Twitter, and other means.
National news media like CNN kept referring to those official alerts as they covered the emergency -- an example of how vital school text alerts have become.
Since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, schools nationwide have made it a priority to set up emergency notification systems for crisis situations, according to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.
Most school text alert systems, like the one used in the Texas A&M shooting, send simultaneous messages via multiple electronic means. This redundancy is essential in making sure everyone gets the message, the NCEF advises.
Does your school have such a system? Here are some ways to find out:
- Check with your campus police department. The police department's website usually includes a link to sign up for emergency notifications, like Texas A&M's Code Maroon system.
- Check the school's social media profiles. Schools on Facebook and/or Twitter typically use their accounts to send out emergency alerts. You can "like" or follow the school to keep up with alerts.
- Check with the FCC. The Federal Communication Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has a list of major universities and their campus alert systems.
It's not just colleges and universities using school text alerts either. Some secondary and even elementary schools are using emergency notification systems, as situations like the Texas A&M shooting become all too common.
- Campus alerts go beyond text messaging (MSNBC)
- Did U of Colorado Have a Duty to Warn about Holmes? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Virginia Tech Victims' Families Win $8M in Wrongful Death Lawsuit (FindLaw's Decided)
- Can A School Be Sued for a Shooting? (FindLaw's Injured)