Buckey speaks on Tennessee School Shooting

Exterior of the newly built Lucretia and Joesph Brown Elementary School in Marblehead on Monday. Photo by Libby O'Neill

Marblehead Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent John Buckey described the safety of MPS students and staff as the district’s “highest priority” after the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee last week.

“We have worked extensively with public safety officials to develop emergency preparedness and response plans for a variety of scenarios, including an active shooter,” said Buckey. “Students and staff participate regularly in drills to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.”

To be prepared in case a shooter comes to one of the district’s schools, staff members and students practice in drills that are age-appropriate.

“Students participate in emergency preparedness drills,” said Buckey. “They practice the protocols and responses for different scenarios.”

“We work hard to create safe and welcoming cultures where all students feel valued and have a sense of belonging,” he added. “We also emphasize that we all have a shared responsibility to prevent incidents to the extent possible. We encourage our students to say something to a trusted adult if they feel something could be a problem or an issue that might impact school safety.”

With the fiscal year 2024 budget cuts leading to the elimination of new staff requests made by school counselors and psychologists, Buckey does not plan on reducing the amount of mental health care professionals in MPS.

“Even in our reduced budget scenario, we have proposed investment in an additional counselor for our schools,” said Buckey. “We value our community partnerships to support students’ mental health.”

The school shooting that took place at the Covenant School is one of 130 mass shootings that took place in the United States this year. Audrey Hale, a former student at the elementary school, fatally shot three children and three adults, according to an article posted by The New York Times.

“I am deeply troubled, saddened, and angered by the tragic events that occurred at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee,” said Buckey. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and the Covenant School community who are dealing with the loss of three students and three staff members. The unspeakable reality is that this has become all too commonplace in our country, and like many Americans, I am outraged that we have not taken more action to put an end to this senseless violence.”