Chipola College Reacts to Virginia Tech Shootings

By: Mike Gurspan
By: Mike Gurspan

At Chipola College in Marianna, law enforcement and faculty are looking for ways to prevent a similar incident from happening like that at Virginia Tech.

With 3000 full and part-time students, Chipola is one of the smallest colleges in Florida. However, Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech University has caught the attention of everyone on the Marianna campus.

It has school administrators asking tough questions on safety, and can something so tragic happen in the rural Panhandle.

Dean of Student Services Dr. Joan Miller said, "We're small. That gives the opportunity to get to know students on a personal level. We hope to be able to identify a student that may be having problems before something like this happens."

Jackson County sheriff's deputies and Marianna Police provide a constant law enforcement presence on campus.

Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Sheriff John McDaniel gathered his school resource officers to learn from that incident. "We going to meet also with the court bailiffs and try to kick around the worst case scenarios to be able to prevent something like this."

Chipola College Student Kara Hewitt said, "How horrible, 32 or 33 students killed including the shooter. I can't imagine that happening around here. We’re so small."

"I feel safe here at Chipola,” Brandy Blighton, another Chipola College student said. “We know each other."

The Chipola College administration and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department are expected to look at other measures to keep students safe on campus.

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