Virginia, Maryland work together to make schools safer

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Virginia and Maryland's Governors team up to better protect your kids. Those at a conference Wednesday said there are lessons to be learned in tragedies - and those that could have been.

"If you're watching this, odds are, I'm probably dead," said Nicole Ann Cevario in a recording made in January, 2017.

She's not not dead, but serving a 20-year sentence, after Maryland sheriffs foiled her deadly school shooting and bombing plot. Wednesday, they showed the recordings she made during her planning, as they explained what lessons the near-tragedy can teach educators and law enforcement.

Maj. Tim Clarke of the Frederick County Maryland Sheriff's Office said he knows you've heard it before, but it's worth repeating, everyone needs to report suspicious behavior. "If you don't say something and something happens, how do you live with that, how do you live with yourself?"

In this case, one of the 18-year-old's parents found a diary and notified authorities. "We know it's very difficult when you have to turn your child in for something," Clarke said, "but in the long run, it saved lives, it saved the young lady's life."

The Governors of Maryland and Virginia arranged this forum in Alexandria so their states could share ideas. "I'm here to learn today and take it back to my individual school," said Tony Hughes, a school counselor in Roanoke.

Hughes said the recent deadly school shooting in Florida did not make him more concerned for his safety or that of his students, "it's just more of an awareness that there are potential dangers out there."

Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said schools in the Old Dominion State employ school resource officers, design buildings for security, train staff and students, and assess students who exhibit dangerous behavior. "There are professionals hard at work to make sure our schools are indeed safe for our kids," he said.

Moran said the best data they have suggest schools are one of the safest places for kids, but making them even safer is the mission of this day, and every day.

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