TOWNVILLE, SC (WSPA) – District administrators are working to reassure parents that Townville Elementary School is safe for their children.
In a statement released Thursday evening, District Four Superintendent Dr. Joanne Avery says they will work with law enforcement and outside consultants in the coming says to make sure that the district’s schools are safe.
Avery also reiterated that the shooter did not enter the building and the district has upgraded safety features in the school.
All schools have upgraded locked entry vestibules and buzz-in systems, according to Avery. She also said all schools will have resource officers or regular patrols by sheriff’s deputies.
Read her full statement below:
I know many of you have lingering questions as details of the shooting at Townville Elementary unfold. I hope I can answer some of those questions in writing, as my focus today is on my staff and our students. As school administrators, the security and well-being of our children is a top priority. It is a formidable task on a regular day, but a greater challenge now in light of the unexplainable violence that occurred in a place of laughter and play.
We are shaken, but feel fortunate that the injuries were not more numerous nor more severe. I’d like to express my deepest appreciation to volunteer firefighter Jamie Brock who restrained the gunman until law enforcement arrived. His selfless action saved lives. I am also grateful to law enforcement who arrived less than seven minutes after a call was made. I am tremendously proud of our injured teacher who put her own life at risk to rush her students to safety.
It is important to remember that the shooter at Townville did not enter the building at any time. When he arrived on campus in the back of the school, he shot at a door that was being opened as a class began exiting the building for recess. At that time, two students and a teacher were injured. Immediately upon those shots being fired, our students were led to safe locations by the teachers. The doors were secured and the shooter was denied access to the building and our students. Administrators and teachers at Townville Elementary followed all district procedures by immediately placing the school on lockdown and taking children to secure locations.
We know it will be difficult for Townville parents to send their children back to school. However, I want to reassure them and the public that security measures are in place. In the past six years, we have upgraded safety features in all schools, including locked entry vestibules in all schools and buzz-in systems. We have school resource officers and regular patrols by sheriff’s deputies at all schools. We have camera systems throughout our schools and on our buses. Students and staff receive active shooter training. The quick action yesterday demonstrates that this training works to prevent additional injuries.
In the coming days we will work with law enforcement and outside consultants to ensure that our schools are safe. We are listening to the community and working to provide needed support for staff, students and their parents. I want to assure our Townville family that we are in this together. We will stand with you and your children as they process this senseless act of violence.
My heart is with our teacher, and the two students and their families. We will support them however we can in their recovery, We will also provide counseling and support to staff and students who were traumatized by the violence.
We will continue to keep you informed of developments in the case and procedures necessary for a return to school. When the date for return has not been set, we will inform parents and students.
Dr. Joanne Avery
Superintendent, Anderson School District Four