Dr. Rosemary Henry remembers watching footage of mass shootings and realizing she had to do something.
“Shooting sprees happening in our schools, happening in our churches, happening in public places,” said Henry. It really escalated our conscious awareness of safety for students.”
Henry is the Catholic Schools Superintendent for the Diocese of Corpus Christi. She and her staff recently revamped a uniform safety plan for the diocese’s 18 schools to protect their nearly 3,000 students.
The new plan consisted of four stages. Stages one and two included improving security and adopting the Standard Response Protocol developed by the I Love You Guys Foundation, a non profit which works to improve school safety, and endorsed by Texas state university’s school safety center. Those happened last fall.
Stage 3 better defines the protocols, while stage four includes an alert system through an app.
“We really saw the need to not only strengthen the plan, but to also require the engagement of training, professional development, and to adopt the plan,” said Henry.
Reaction from parents has been positive.
“When we send our children to school we send our children expecting them to be taken care of,” said Erica Maymi. “It’s extremely important as a parent to know that we’re dropping them off in good hands.”
Maymi has been sending her kids to St. Cyril and Methodius for nearly a decade. She says safety is one of the reasons she chose catholic schools.
“Once you’re in a catholic school, you understand why we feel more safe, more secure,” said Maymi. “We’re a big family, and there’s great communication starting from the top all the way down.”
Diocese officials believe their new plan will keep students safe.
“Students have been entrusted to our care in our schools,” said Henry. “We have to do everything we can.”
There won’t be any armed personnel inside schools. According to Dr. Henry, the diocese looked into both a school marshal and a school guardian program, but decided to go in a different direction.