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On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett, Education Secretary Jim Peyser, UMass President Marty Meehan, and Attorney General Maura Healey to talk about and spur action on sexual assaults and “active shooter” situations on campuses across Massachusetts.

“I am proud that Massachusetts has taken the lead as the first state to order a comprehensive review of campus safety, which includes both active shooter threats and the prevalence of sexual violence, for all its public campuses,” said Lt. Governor Polito.

Presented by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Executive Office of Public Safety & Security, and Attorney General’s Office the “Securing Our Future: A Statewide Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Conference” raises awareness of the findings and recommendations of the Board of Higher Education’s recent task force on campus safety and violence prevention. The focus was on the need for nimble and flexible capabilities that allow campuses to integrate safety and violence prevention efforts into strategic planning, budgeting and other ongoing priorities addressed by campus leaders.

Lt. Governor Polito, who chairs the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, said campus police should have the same type of training as municipal police on responding to sexual assault and domestic violence, and Bay State students can receive an education on the subject before going to college. (State House News Service)

“I think there’s an opportunity in the curriculum, the health curriculum in the K-through-12 system. We talk about anti-bullying. We talk about drugs and alcohol and tobacco. We should also have a discussion around relationships and what is safe and what is correct,” Lt. Governor Polito said.

More from the State House News Service:

State Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago highlighted new safety enhancements at state schools, saying Roxbury Community College students now have access to violence prevention workshops; Bristol Community College installed an emergency speaker at its Fall River campus; and Bridgewater State University has created an emergency plan, assembled an emergency response team and appointed a sexual violence outreach educator.

The report recommends increased involvement by schools’ trustees in safety issues, and says visible and approachable police can prevent incidents from occurring and encourage the reporting of crimes. The report also recommends offering “confidential resources” for students and employees who have experienced sexual violence, such as partnering with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner hospitals. Video surveillance capabilities, remote-locking doors and emergency notifications were also addressed in the report.

Read more: Board of Higher Education Issues Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Recommendations

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