How Covenant School Shooting Changed Private School Security

AP Photo/John Amis

No one has ever actually believed we should do nothing after a school massacre.

I know the anti-gunners like to pretend we do, but that's just because they're too myopic to realize that there are things one can do besides gun control. For them, it's restricting the Second Amendment rights of people who didn't do anything wrong or nothing. They can't fathom that there are alternatives.


For many of us, school security is something we should take seriously, especially because we understand that bad people have a nasty habit of getting guns regardless of what laws you care to put on the books.

And following the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, a lot of schools did many of those things.

The shooting mobilized communities into action. In the weeks that followed, thousands of protesters showed up to the state capitol — many of them students and parents — demanding gun reform.

The Republican-controlled state legislature ignored those demands.

But lawmakers did approve more than $200 million to support school security. They dedicated $14 million of that money to private school security grants.

Security upgrades at Tennessee private schools

Private schools have put the grants toward a wide variety of measures, including but not limited to:

  • Building or improving fencing and security gates
  • Securing exterior doors of school buildings
  • Installing window film that reduces visibility and/or resists bullets
  • Implementing visitor background check systems
  • Increasing surveillance
  • Upgrading communications with local law enforcement

According to a recent report, Tennessee’s Department of Education has approved 341 grant applications, totaling a little over $13 million, or 93% of allocated funds.

Still, TDOE Chief Operating Officer Shannon Gordon acknowledged all these measures have limitations.

“We don’t have products out there that are going to keep people outside. There isn’t a product out there that is going to stop all bullets from coming in. Those products just don’t exist,” Gordon said.


Gordon, unfortunately, makes a good point. Bullet-resistant glass does exist, but bullet-proof doesn't. Yet we can probably make it proof against the calibers that are practical. The odds are slim that we need glass that can withstand a .50 BMG round, for example. But we can make it where it's proof of just about anything someone is likely to try and use, which they have.

But, to get economic for a moment, this is where the free market can come in so long as the government doesn't try to screw everything up, which is what it's best at after killing people.

If there's a demand for a product like this, someone will figure out how to make it better and cheaper and market it to schools that want to upgrade their security, so long as it doesn't somehow violate the laws of physics.

If it does, I'm sure someone will come up with a workaround.

There are also products out there designed to help keep students and teachers safe during such attacks, only people get bent out of shape about these products existing, all because they figure they shouldn't be needed.

I agree. They shouldn't.

But there are terrible people in this world who like to hurt people, so we need them, and we need to put them in schools so we can stack the deck in favor of the kids and the staff. Yes, I think we should allow teachers and school staff to carry guns as well, but I've never believed in just one solution to such a problem. Layers are better.


And, to be fair, it sounds like schools are putting those layers into effect. That's good.

After all, while the Covenant massacre sparked this, we need to remember that they weren't the initial target. The killer switched because of tight security at the initial target.

You might not be able to stop the truly determined attacker, but you can slow them down or make them look elsewhere, which is probably the best you can do. Even the tightest gun control laws won't eliminate the issue, as we've recently been reminded. But we can do plenty to make them look elsehwere.

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