911 Texting Bill

Maddie Miles and Gabby Martis

In April 2018, four Centreville and Fairfax County high school seniors, Thu Le, Rodolfo Faccini, Arko Mazumder, and Daniel Strauch, proposed a bill for 911 centers to accept emergency text messages that has now been made official to become a law. The thought behind this bill was sparked from the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. When under attack, the college students were unable to speak for fear of being shot. Therefore, they instead had to text and contact others for help, who than had to call 911. By undergoing this lengthy process, precious time, which could have easily been saved, was lost.

Originally, the proposal was part of a student project in the seniors’ AP government class. As part of the assignment participants had to propose a bill, which teachers Cathy Ruffing and Terri Ritchey would send to Virginia Senator George Barker. This project had been given to the AP students for a little over a decade. Teachers pick some of the top proposals and send them to the Senator. He than selects one each year and presents it to the General Assembly. Barker said he was primarily drawn to the 911 bill because of its simplicity and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. Barker introduced the bill to the Virginia General Assembly and was passed by Governor Ralph Northam. The bill is designated to take effect on July 1st.