Roanoke Catholic School discusses layered safety approach at their private school

ROANOKE, Va. – The latest school shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville has once again put school safety at top of mind.

Private schools across the county and here at home, like Roanoke Catholic School, say they’re re-evaluating safety measures in place at their school.

“Ultimately, when a tragedy like this strikes, it rises all of our levels of consciousness to make sure that we are doing everything we can do to keep our campus and our community safe,” said the Principal and Head of School at Roanoke Catholic, Patrick Patterson.

Patterson says over the last few years, the school has spent about $500,000 on improving school security.

Some visible safety strategies at Roanoke Catholic included locked entrances to the buildings and locked classroom doors at all times.

The main office also has an ID scanner for visitors, which performs a background check in seconds.

There are also over 100 cameras on campus, which stream a live feed to multiple TVs for administrators and can even be viewed on cell phones.

“Even getting into the building you have to key card in or type a code in and you are constantly under camera when you are on campus,” said Patterson.

Once inside Roanoke Catholic, you can’t get very far with the school’s layered safety approach in effect.

“And even to get into our public spaces. Once you gain access to the lobby, to get into the library where there are often large groups of students, you have to have a key card to get into those spaces as well,” said Patterson.

One thing that does set Roanoke Catholic apart from public schools, there are no school resource officers or armed officers on campus.

“Ultimately our Bishop in Richmond will decide what the protocol will be in terms of having armed security or law enforcement on our campus,” said Patterson.

Patterson says his school partners closely with law enforcement, like having police conduct trainings inside the school’s building.

Local law enforcement also has access to the school’s digital floor plan, so they know the layout of the building in case of an active threat.

“We do have a great working relationship with the chief of police and with the city sheriff,” said Patterson.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.