School safety is a constant priority especially in the wake of shootings.

The latest example, a man opened fire at UNC Charlotte’s campus this week. In our region, SUNY Cortland is earning recognition from the U.S. Department of Education because of its efforts to keep campus safe.

Officials Spectrum News spoke to say it has to do with programs at the school, communication efforts, and the students themselves.

SUNY Cortland ranks high on being safe because of its low scoring in four categories - hate crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, and violence against women.

School officials say their location in a rural area helps lower their campus crime rates. They also say students are educated on the importance of bystander intervention.

"When something happens we encourage everyone to get involved." said Fred Pierce, SUNY Cortland Director of Communications. "And do something about it before something bad happens. That's the message we try to convey to students."

And while SUNY Cortland ranks high in safety, school officials say no one is immune to violence and reminds everyone to always be on guard and aware of your surroundings.

Cortland has also been recognized as one the safest college towns in the nation.