AUSTIN (KXAN) – A former student shot through the doors of a Christian elementary school and killed three children and three adults on Monday in Nashville.
One of the uncommon factors about the tragic shooting was that it happened at a private school. According to data from the CATO Institute, only 6% of school shootings between 2000 and 2018 happened at private schools.
What safety measures do Texas private schools have?
Security cameras, locked doors and year-round drills are just a few of the safety measures in place at Kirby Hall School, a K-8th grade private school in Austin.
“The children silently go into the classroom. The teacher locks the door, children have to be very quiet. They stay away from windows and doors, and they just stay there. And when the drill is over, we’ll go around knocking on the door, the teacher won’t answer when I knock. They will wait for me to say the password. Password changes every month,” said Executive Director Helen Roberts.
Roberts said campus security has always been top of mind, but now it is even more in light of the mass shooting in Nashville.
Laura Colangelo, the executive director of the Texas Private School Association, said while public schools are given safety rules from the Texas Education Agency, each individual private school tackles it differently.
“Each school has a school board. They decide they do audits, they figure out what they need on their particular campus, and they fundraise and they figure out how to get it paid for,” Colangelo said.
Do private schools get safety funding from the state?
Colangelo said in general, private schools fund safety measures themselves.
“Private schools are privately funded. So we are not getting money from the state,” she said.
But, Colangelo said some help is on the way in the form of $115 million in federal COVID funds.
“The governor was able to direct that and allow us to use some of it for school safety, and those allocations actually just came out on Friday,” Colangelo said.
For Roberts, the tragedy in Nashville is a reminder that public or private, a shooting can happen anywhere. She said it’s left her even more determined to keep her campus safe.
“They’re sending their children here, not just for an education, but to be protected,” Roberts said.