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GCS Safety & Security

March 30, 2023
By Donald M. Larson, PhD., Head of School

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 
Romans 12:9-12

No school is immune to the tragedy faced by The Covenant School in Nashville, and we take this threat very seriously. We will continue to pray, plan, and prepare for the worst-case scenarios. We hope that we will never face the nightmare experienced by The Covenant School, but we must and will make sure that we know what to do, no matter what crises come our way.

At our parent meetings in the beginning of the school year, I informed you that we were updating our emergency protocols to bring them in line with best practices. A cross-functional team has been meeting twice a month to develop a new Emergency Operations Plan for GCS. We are following the FEMA Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. We began by identifying threats and hazards and then prioritized them. We then developed goals and objectives for each threat and hazard and are now in the process of developing checklists for each of the key players. We hope to have the plan finished in June and have all of the outside agencies review the plan so we can implement it at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.

What else can we do? First, we need to pray. We need to pray for the students, staff, and families at Covenant School. We need to pray for our students, staff, and families, and we must remember that we all belong to God. He has numbered our days. He holds us in His hands, and with His right hand, He guides us. Our hope is Christ Jesus!

Second, we need to prepare. I am constantly reading and researching studies, reports, and information on the threats to schools. Covenant School was prepared and took action quickly, which saved lives. If you have seen the pictures, the perpetrator was walking through empty halls and offices. We need to make sure that we are well-prepared to take the right actions at the right time.

Third, we need to practice. Next school year, we will begin monthly exercises and drills to train everyone in the new procedures. We will start small and build into bigger and more complex scenarios. This will allow us to grow our confidence in the responses and identify any weaknesses that we may need to correct. To bridge our time between now and next year, each of our campuses will conduct a lockdown drill. We will inform you before the drill begins and after it is complete. Please talk with your students about the exercise and what they learned.

With the mood in our society turning more and more against Christianity, this is a threat that we must take seriously, and we as a school will continue to pray, prepare, and practice. Through any trials and tribulations that may come our way, we must continue to put our trust and faith in the LORD and love one another while praying fervently.

God Bless.