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More Private Schools Likely To Boost Security After Nashville Shooting

An alarm sounded and lights flashed as a heavily armed assailant stalked the hallways of The Covenant School. Surveillance footage at the private Christian school in Nashville showed many familiar security measures, including the double set of locked glass doors the killer shot their way through before fatally shooting three children and three school employees. “It’s just next to impossible to stop someone” coming through that door with a high-powered weapon, said George Grant of the Nashville Presbytery, which is connected with the school. Grant said the presbytery doesn’t have a formal security program for its churches and schools but that members have worked together to share best practices, the Associated Press reports.

Around the U.S., private schools do not face so many requirements as public schools for developing security plans. In Tennessee, laws requiring schools to develop and submit safety plans do not apply to private schools. Private schools may lack access to government programs for security, though private schools in some states are eligible for state money to bolster security with staff, equipment and technology. Generally, private schools don’t have access to the police many public schools have assigned to their campuses, said Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He said some private schools hire recently retired officers. “I would imagine after this horrific situation in Nashville that there may be more attempts by private schools to try to not only bolster security but to get school resource officers,” he said. Private schools were among institutions that invested most heavily in security after 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 retired federal agents, said Michael Dorn, who has been involved in assessing security at thousands of schools as executive director of Safe Havens International, a nonprofit school safety center.


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