JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – After the devastating shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, private schools across the country and in Eastern North Carolina are doing what they can to ensure safety and security.
At St. Anne’s Parish Day School in Jacksonville, administrators said the attack in Tennessee opened their eyes as to what more they can do to protect those inside.
“It just makes you want to cry. And then I think of our own students here at the school, and I can’t even fathom what those parents are going through right now,” said Pamela Banta, director of the school.
The pre-K through second-grade school regularly practices lockdown drills so students and staff are prepared if it’s ever needed.
“We do the best we can do with making sure everybody’s secure here at St. Anne’s Parish Day School,” said Banta. “Keeping everything locked down, we check IDs, if we don’t know anybody that’s coming to pick somebody up.”
The school adds that they sent out a reminder email to parents to always buzz in when coming to pick up their kids and to never hold the door open for others.
“This morning, we talked about, OK, are we doing everything that we can to keep our students safe? What could we be doing better?,” said Maria Olander, assistant director at the school.
As a private school, St Anne’s Parish Day School does not have a school resource officer on the grounds full-time or even any law enforcement presence that regularly stops by.
“A check-in monitoring the private schools here in town where hey, once a day, once a week, just do a little check-in and of all the private schools,” said Olander.
Administrators also wish there was more communication when there’s a threat to other schools in the area.
“I think there needs to be some kind of policy where they reach out to every private school, not just your public schools,” said Banta. “Let us know, ‘hey, this happened,’ or ‘there’s a concern, you need to go on lockdown,’ because unfortunately, we’ve never had that happen here.”
School officials added they are keeping the Nashville community in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.