Nashville Pre-K’s vouch for notification system in emergencies

WSMV's Michael Warrick reports.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 2:28 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A group of Nashville preschools are calling attention to the lack of a notification system when threatening incidents are happening nearby.

Kathy Ennis has been in the early learning profession for more than four decades. She now serves as the Program Consultant for Glen Leven Presbyterian Church Dayschool.

She is advocating for Nashville preschools and child care agencies to be included in official lockdown notifications, like most public and private schools are.

During Monday’s deadly shooting at the Covenant School, nearby Glen Leven made the decision to go on lockdown based on the sirens of police and firefighters flying down the street.

“Preschools were not contacted. Hillsboro High School was contacted, and all the emergency vehicles were whizzing by and preschools locked down just assuming something was going on,” Ennis said.

Ennis is in a group of dozens of preschool directors who meet weekly to discuss issues pertinent to early learning. This week, Ennis says, most preschools are discussing security, and the need for a notification system. Ennis is hoping either a local or state-wide lawmaker will hear their plea.

“Every single day a teacher gets up and comes to work, we’re walking into a potential of [a shooting] happening, and it seems remote, but you hear about it all around the country and now its happened in our own backyard,” Ennis said.

In threatening situations, time is of the essence for preschools and childcare agencies who often times, are caring for children who aren’t old enough to talk, or even move.

“All of us need to have notification as to what’s happening,” Ennis said. “Trying to keep children quiet in a lockdown situation is a challenge for anyone and so having that additional time to know something might happen is critical.”

Ennis doesn’t doubt for a second, that the three adult victims inside the Covenant School risked their lives trying to save children. With more than 40 years working with children, that is just in most teachers’ nature.

And why Ennis and her group of preschool directors will advocate for anything that could keep children safer.

“These parents are entrusting their most pressure loved ones to our care and we take that extremely seriously.”