Local Christian school principal talks safety

Following the deadly shooting in Nashville, a local principal says they feel there is always something they can do to improve safety.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Another deadly school shooting in the U.S. is once again raising the question of safety and preparedness at other schools across the country.

Micah O’Connor, the principal of Our Lady of Fatima Parish School in Huntington, says she was devasted Monday as she learned about the violence at a private school in Nashville.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims,” she said. “The first thing that goes through our head is, ‘Are we safe?’ Every time we hear about one of these incidents, it’s horrific, and we just think ‘Is there more we can do?’”

Like the Covenant School in Tennessee, Our Lady of Fatima is a private Christian campus.

“You’re never safe enough,” O’Connor said. “You think you can be. We think we are. We put many measures into place to be safe, but we feel there is always something more we can do.”

O’Connor says they work with the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to be in compliance with safety protocols and are always updating safety standards.

“We’re currently working on improving systems in our school before this even happened,” she said. “This year, for example, we had active shooter training, and it’s sad it’s come to that, but it’s something that is a priority for us to do now to make sure our students are safe in the school.”

The principal says they also have a priest prepared at all times to talk with students troubled by these acts.

“That’s one good thing about being a Christian school, a Catholic school like we are, that we do have the opportunity for our priest to talk about these issues,” she said.

Monday evening, a written statement from Cabell County Schools Superintendent Ryan Saxe was released on the Tennessee shooting.

Saxe said, “Whenever this sort of tragic event takes place in our nation, our own students, staff, and families cannot help but be affected. As citizens of this country and members of the greater school community, we share a common bond with those lost to violence and mourn them together.”

In the statement, Saxe says they’re constantly reviewing security measures to ensure they’re doing everything they can to protect students and staff, and they urge everyone to speak up if they see or hear anything that could represent a potential threat to school safety.