Dear Saint Helena Families,
I want you to know we pray for the families of the victims in the recent school shooting in Nashville. I appreciate those of you who reached out to me to make sure our school is safe. While I spoke with some of you, I realized many of our newer families were not here when our school has reacted to unfortunate earlier school shootings.
Unfortunately, I have been at Saint Helena School through too many school shootings. I want to assure we do everything we can to make sure our children our safe. The safety of our children is always our top priority.
Beginning in 2006, after the Nickel Mines School shooting, we began to take measures with the assistance of Whitpain Township Police to ensure our children were safe at school. Our latest update to our safety plan happened over this past summer with the assistance of the Whitpain Police. Our latest measures were explained at the parish’s active shooter presentation held this past fall.
Some of the measures we have taken in our school are the following:
- All of our doors are locked.
- Visitors may only enter using the main entrance of the school during normal school hours.
- The Social and Recreation doors may only be used for Early Birds, CARES, and for special event days.
- Safety Drills are conducted so children and teachers know what to do in the case of an emergency.
- Teachers have safety plans.
- Cameras are at the doors.
- We have also installed the Rave Panic Button App on the cell phone of every faculty and staff member.
- The classroom doors are numbered from the outside so that police may find a certain classroom quickly in the case of an emergency.
These are just some of the ways we ensure our children’s safety.
We are also very fortunate to have a police presence on our campus. Whitpain police officers walk through our building at various times of the day every single day. Officers are often sitting in the parking lot adjacent to the children’s recess yard.
I know some of you have questioned if it is safe having our children in the front of the school rather than in the backyard for recess. The police assured us we were better off being on a main road than in a remote area. About 15 years ago, Monsignor Nicolo put in berms near Route 202 so that the recess yard was not as visible from the main road. We constantly monitor the comings and goings of people in the front of the school.
We pray that these tragedies will stop. We do everything we can to keep our children safe at Saint Helena School. I hope this email helps to ease any concerns you may have about the safety of our children here at Saint Helena School.
Miss Denise Britt