Statement by The AACTE Regarding the February 14, 2008 Shooting at Northern Illinois University

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“We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends at Northern Illinois University who have suffered such a great loss, said Dr. Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. We will long remember you and your loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.”

Tragedy unfolded during yesterday’s school shooting when gunman Stephen Kazmierczak opened fire on a classroom at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. The incident happened at Cole Hall at approximately 3:05 p.m. local time. The campus was put on lockdown and all classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day and the following day. Students and teachers were advised to head to a secure location and take cover, avoiding the scene and all buildings in the vicinity of the area

Since the Virginia Tech shootings in April of 2007, Northern Illinois University (NIU) has made numerous improvements to their emergency response plan. Yesterday's rapid response by NIU staff to lock down the campus and notify the community was exceptional by means of several officers reporting to the scene in less than two minutes. This exemplary demonstration serves as a reminder of the determination and dedication of campus security officers all over the country who work diligently around the clock to keep our campuses safe and secure.

Students came together to find strength and comfort in one another late Thursday during an on campus candlelight prayer vigil. This demonstration by Northern Illinois University’s extraordinary staff, faculty, and students is a powerful reflection of the ability of our nation’s institutions to band together in times of tragedy to embark on a process of hope, healing, and recovery.

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