Lowcountry private schools respond to gun violence

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A gun incident at the all girl's private school Ashley Hall in Downtown, Charleston has put school security back in the local spotlight.

"I think it is a reminder to all of us that violence can happen on any school campus. It doesn't matter if it's private or public, small or large, every campus is vulnerable to some type of violence," said Bishop England and the Diocese of Charleston spokesperson, Maria Aselage.

On Monday, twenty-eight year old Alice Boland pulled a gun on an Ashley Hall administrator at the carpool line with around 50 students standing by. City of Charleston police officials say Boland's gun failed to fire and no students or staff members were hurt. Boland was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

The event has put crime front and center on school official's minds this week, especially at fellow private schools here in the Lowcountry, like Bishop England High School on Daniel Island.

"I think what happened at Ashley Hall just reminds every school principal, every school campus that they are vulnerable in any sense of the word; that at any time someone can come on campus and try to hurt a student a faculty member," Aselage said.

"So it just brings to the forefront of our minds that we have to be diligent and take every step necessary to ensure the safety of people on our campus."

BE school officials say they're not taking any chances when it comes to securing their campus.

"There are several security measures in place. We have surveillance cameras in place here on the campus at Bishop England. There is a state of the art locking system on the doors, also we've invited the Charleston City Police Department to drive around here and there throughout the day to keep an eye on things, and of course we train our faculty and staff to keep an eye out for strangers on campus," Aselage said.

With the unknown always out there, Bishop England officials say when it comes to school safety you have to be proactive rather than reactive.

"We cant prevent everything but what we can do is come up with plans we think could happen and then put those plans into place," Aselage said.

Lowcountry private school Porter Gaud is also taking note of their security measures after the Ashley Hall incident. The school sent out a letter to parents this week saying in part:

"The events at Ashley Hall yesterday afternoon were another stark reminder of our need for elevated security on our campus. We are certainly thankful that the incident was resolved without anyone being hurt, as the outcome could have been far worse. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the Ashley Hall Family"

"The school has been and will continue to implement physical security upgrades such as cameras, access controls (card access, locks, gates, and fencing), alarms (security), and notification systems (telephones in classrooms, PAs, external notification, two-way radios, and rapid notification systems."