|Category||General Liability and Safety Issues|
|Title||School Mass Shooting Viewpoint: Anonymous|
|Preview||School Mass Shooting Viewpoint: Anonymous|
School Mass Shooting Viewpoint: Anonymous
Demographics: Suburban Northeast School. Over 400 students in early education to 12th grade. Denominationally affiliated and a ministry of a local church. Shared campus with the church.
1. What kind of feedback have you received from parents and how has that driven some of the school's thinking/responses?
I sent out a parent alert message to families the day after Parkland sharing what we're currently doing, including faculty and staff going through ALICE intruder response training prior to what happened in Florida. I stated that we're increasing our partnership with the local police to bring them in to review our drills and be more present on our campus. I also shared with middle and high school students that their teachers are going through training to respond to intruders, and I will be talking more about the details with them.
The response from parents was overwhelmingly positive, with many families sharing that they appreciate what we have in place and that we are reviewing how to improve our procedures, and they are covering our campus with their prayers.
2. What is the school's viewpoint on or response to mass school shootings (pedagogical/theological/philosophical responses)?
As a Christian school everyone understands that it's evidence of a fallen society. It makes us want to tighten things up internally, while demonstrating calm and confidence in our procedures, people, and drills. Closer to home, we're looking as students who are struggling with social issues or alienation to make sure they're being cared for by the adults here, we're informing parents of issues, and—in some cases—requiring counseling in order for students to remain in school. We're asking students to take care of one another, and praising those who report students who are dealing with anxiety, anger, bullying, and more. Admins also looked at each other when dealing with discipline issues to ask, "What if? Could he or she do something?" It reminds you that you really need to care for and stay connected with hurting kids, which should be the norm in a Christian school anyway.
3. What measures is the school taking to address concerns over safety and a potential mass shooting (practical responses/actions taken)?
We have two full-time security guards—one in a booth and one who patrols around our 22-acre property (they do not carry firearms). With electronic access to doors, and over 60 security cameras we can monitor our site well. Our families feel good about our current setup, and I have only received a couple of inquiries asking if we're doing anything more.
Sitting on a highway, and sharing the property with a larch church community with Bible studies and events all day long, in addition to the school's activities, keeps us on constant high alert. After the Parkland incident I asked police to have an officer visit our campus daily, showing a visible presence tot he community. I met with the chief of police, who requested that his officers be allowed to walk the halls every day. I agreed, and while the increased police presence was initially a concern it is not welcomed by students and staff.
The police have asked for electronic access to our buildings, as well as access to our video cameras. This will require school board and church board approval.
The church is happy with our current security setup and procedures, but is concerned with installing interior cameras in school public spaces such as the hallways and gyms. They're concerned about privacy issues—the school is concerned about security and liability. The executive pastor, a retired military officer, does not want guns on campus. A this point we don't really want them either, as it would involve training and expenses that we cannot afford. Visible security is what we agree upon as the best deterrent to any incidents.
As far as shared space, most areas that the school uses are separate from the areas the church uses during the day. The space that is shared is separated by locked doors. ANyone wanting access to school doors must be cleared by security. Unfortunately, we have a huge parking lot with lots of people parking and wandering to the wrong doors or buildings, or going to find security to find out where to go. That puts a lot of stress on our security people to be watching what's going on. Fortunately, the Bible studies and other events are routine enough that we know when we'll have "wanderers" and when it will be quiet.
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Association of Christian Schools International
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