New College students on guard after UCF foiled plot

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 5:23 pm | Updated: 9:09 pm, Sat Sep 21, 2013.

SARASOTA - The foiled attack at UCF is once again highlighting the need for student safety.  Here on the Suncoast, local colleges aren't taking any chances and the students themselves are at the root of that prevention.

"Every time you hear about something like this you can't help but worry about could this happen here, " said Mcalister Grant a 1st year student at New College of Florida.  He's talking about the plans a University of Central Florida student had to wage a mass attack at the school.

"When you think about the fact that it has happened especially so close to home it makes it more real. And because were such a small school that possibility is even scarier because if it were to happen it's a virtual guaranty that it would be someone you know, " said Grant.

Despite his slight fears, Grant says the possibility of someone implementing a mass attack at his school is very small.   "I think its something that people are really sensitive about here and there's more of an ongoing dialogue about it, so I think people are really less likely to let something building up inside of them and let it explode all at once," added Grant.

Other students we spoke to also agree.

"The first signs you see, you usually tell a resident assistant the people in charge at the dorms.  And, if those complaints go unresolved then it goes up the chain of command," said Tim Duff a 3rd year student at the school.

And for the students at New College, that's just the beginning.  "We have a club called Active Minds that promotes mental health awareness, and the Wellness Center where students actually go to get help," added Duff.

But New College officials didn't stop there they've taken their prevention plan one step further.

"We have a behavior intervention team, which is a team of individuals across our campus community who meet to discuss threat assessments, and we have a threat assessment protocol," said Anne Fisher Program Director at the Counseling & Wellness Center at the school.

Fisher says that provides students and faculty step by step guidelines for what to look for and how to respond and where to take the information.

"So if someone is behaving in an odd or eccentric way the campus has ways to gather that information, assess it, come up with a plan, and then try to monitor what goes on so we can be helpful," added Fisher.

Officials say they can't predict when violence will occur but they hope their efforts will prevent a similar situation from happening here.

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