There is no greater moral imperative than to protect and defend innocent life. The horrific murders at the Covenant School in Tennessee call for renewed attention to this imperative.
Nashville’s police likely did save lives through their heroic response. But not before the killer stole the lives of three children and three staff members. We ought to pray for each one of the victims of this hateful crime, and for their families–and yes, for the soul of the perpetrator too.
Nashville’s police chief stated that the killer had considered another location for premeditated murders, but chose Covenant because it had no security personnel.
Providence Academy has armed security personnel, highly trained veteran Plymouth police officers. This is unusual in independent and Christian schools, but it is and has long been our practice. Why? Because protecting and defending innocent life means being prepared and having the means to do so–in any number of circumstances. This is also why we have nurses and counselors. And it’s an important reason for having chaplains, teachers, and coaches.
Our security measures go further. Desk staff and security personnel have live (and recorded) video monitoring of access points, and access to the school is screened and carefully managed throughout the day. An additional security officer is on duty at both drop-off and pick-up times when there is maximal flow in and out of school. We have reduced the number of entry points during drop off, to enhance monitoring capabilities. Our doors are locked during school, and students who are outside the building are accompanied by personnel with walkie-talkies.
Interior windows and all ground-floor exterior windows are coated with 3M Safety & Security Window Film Safety Series S140. This is state-of-the-art protection against intrusion involving glass-breaking.
Faculty and staff are trained in all manner of procedures, including lockdowns, lockouts, evacuations, and reverse evacuations. Our community practices these procedures throughout the year. PA has reciprocal relationships with other institutions for safe-haven needs in the unlikely event of evacuations.
Plymouth Police and Fire Department personnel are very familiar with PA, its building and grounds, and are welcomed in and among our community in a variety of ways. Notably, the police department has staged Special Weapons and Tactics drills here. We are very grateful for these relationships.
We routinely review our approaches with an eye to continual improvement.
In raising and educating our dear children, there is much fear and worry that can occupy our minds and hearts. It can seem especially so today, when the Christian understanding of the God-created and God-given dignity of each human person is less prevalent in our society.
Know that at Providence Academy, we endeavor to be one of the safest places that our children will ever be.