Our Lady of Mercy School, the only K-8 private school in East Greenwich, is reviewing its safety procedures just as the EG public schools are doing in the wake of last week's devastating shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
According to OLM Principal Sister Jeanne Barry, R.S.M., the school already had many things in place, including a buzzer at the front door, and it follows the state's dictate of 15 drills a year.
"We follow all the state regulations," said Barry. "We’ve had a buzzer there for years and the doors [to the outside] are kept locked."
The front door at OLM has a camera trained on it but no intercom – a problem on a rainy day, when people might be wearing hoods, she said. "With the intercom, we could ask who they are."
Father Bernard Healey has already hired a security specialist to look at the school. Sister Barry said he already toured the building this week.
She said Father Healey, the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church, reached out to town officials soon after events last Friday.
"He said, 'Please don’t let us out of any changes,'" Barry said. According to Police Chief Thomas Coyle, OLM will be included in all safety plans.
Coyle said he would be touring all seven East Greenwich schools in coming days to assess their vulnerabilities.
"I had a meeting with my guys and put a team together. We're going to take one school a day," said Coyle. "We're going to make a list of things. We're going to look over their evacuation plans. We also reached out to all our daycares and preschools."
Sister Barry said the past week had been busy and generally positive, but there were moments.
"A seventh grader asked a teacher, 'Could this happen here?'" Barry said. "The teacher said, 'I don’t know but we will do all we can do to keep you safe.'"
Said Barry, “We hope and pray the world changes.”