NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Alarms went off and lights flashed as a heavily armed assailant stalked the hallways of a Covenant school.
Surveillance footage of Monday’s shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville shows the killer shooting through two sets of locked glass doors before shooting dead three children and three school workers. And many other well-known safety measures were reflected.
“It’s nearly impossible for an AR-17 to stop someone coming in through the door,” said George Grant, leader of the Nashville Presbyterian Association, which has ties to the school. Grant says the Presbyterian Council doesn’t have a formal church or school security program, but members work together to share best practices and improve safety.
In the United States, private schools generally do not face as many security plan requirements as public schools. In Tennessee, laws requiring schools to prepare and submit safety plans do not apply to private schools, said an emailed statement from the state Department of Education.
Private schools may not have access to government programs to increase security, but private schools in some states are eligible to receive state funding to increase security with staff, equipment, and technology. I have. Some federal grants are also available for private schools for security assistance.
Private schools generally do not have access to the police that many public schools assign to their campuses, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Managers. He said several private schools have arranged to hire recently retired officers.
“After this terrifying situation in Nashville, I imagine there will be more attempts by private schools to not only beef up security, but to get school resource officers.”
Still, private schools have invested in violence prevention just as public schools have, experts say, amid growing fears of mass shootings.
Private schools have been among the biggest investments in security in the aftermath of the 2012 shooting that killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Today, private schools have some of the highest paid security specialists, including a retired federal agent, says he’s an executive at Safe Havens International, a nonprofit school safety center, and has thousands of school security assessments as his director. said Michael Dorn, who has worked on
Private school security protocols are similar to public school security protocols, but are tailored to each school’s location and circumstances, says Myra McGovern of the National Association of Independent Schools.
Security such as metal detectors may be unobtrusive in private schools, considering the care of boarders and, in some cases, the children of heads of state.
“The security concerns are similar, but the way it manifests itself is probably different,” McGovern said.
As with public schools, the quality of safety plans in private schools varies greatly, Dorn said.
“Some schools are far behind, others are exceptional,” he said.
In Tennessee last year, Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order on school safety directed the state to produce a report on the use of armed guards in nonpublic schools and to assess the need for gunner training. I was.
Most U.S. school systems have active shooter and lockdown training in place, and Nashville schools actually have active shooter training in 2022, preventing further loss of life from Monday’s shooting.
Whether private or not, shootings are more common in middle and high schools than in elementary schools like Covenant, where guards are less likely to be assigned. I am wary of making people uneasy.
Covenant School has approximately 200 students in preschool through sixth grade. The school and Covenant Presbyterian Church are connected to the Nashville Presbyterian Church, which includes the American Presbyterian congregation that spans central Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky.
“Over the past few years, most of our churches have been trained and vetted security measures,” said Grant, the Nashville Presbyterian’s last-minute moderator. “It’s not a formal presbytery-wide initiative, but it evolved out of relationships.”
Grant said Franklin Classic School, a school under the spiritual supervision of his parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, has lockdown procedures and security codes in place. There is always an ex-police officer on site during school classes. It is unknown if the Covenant school had guards.
Grant said his church’s security team has called for a review of security protocols, and training is already planned for the week after Easter.
“This is a reminder that we live in a broken and crumbling world,” he said.
___ Ma reported from Washington DC. Associated Press writers Jonathan Mathis (Nashville) and Michael Melia (Hartford, CT) contributed to this report.
The Associated Press education team is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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