I am sad to be writing to you today in the wake of yet another school shooting. The tragedy in Nashville leaves us grieving for the precious lives lost; worrying as parents and educators who want to be sure our children are always safe at school; and disheartened that our country has not been able to stop these senseless shootings from happening.
I wrote to you last week about the importance of safety at school--academic, emotional, and physical. I know your students’ physical safety has been on your mind more than usual this week. I want to assure you that it is always on my mind. Several years ago, James River conducted a safety audit, which resulted in our present security system. (The police consultant who worked with us told us that a huge protective factor we have at James River is the small size of our community where we know each other well.)
While we are confident that our current safety measures and procedures are up-to-date and effective, we never stop re-assessing. Our security/crisis management team meets on a regular basis, and we are always looking for ways to improve building security. We are currently looking into conducting a threat assessment as well as additional training for our faculty and staff.
What more can we do? We will acknowledge that knowing another shooting has taken place, this time on a school campus not unlike our own, is very unsettling. We will lean on each other for reassurance and support. We will continue to assess, reaffirm, and practice our safety and communication protocols. And, we will support the physical and emotional well-being of our students and those in the James River community. As always, thank you for your partnership and for entrusting your precious children to James River. Never hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns.