From the Desk of the Head of School- April 7, 2023

Dear Harding community,

After the horrific events that transpired at The Covenant School, we have understandably been fielding many questions, suggestions, and thoughts from our community pertaining to the safety of our campus. I am proud to report that we are ahead of the curve surrounding threat mitigation on campus. Based on our annual security audits and feedback from our partners at Defend Systems, we have identified areas of growth, which we have already or were planning to address, and pay for, over the next few years. In light of recent events, the Board of Trustees and school leadership have decided to accelerate this timeline and address all of these needs prior to the 2023-2024 school year. 

Due to a fiscally responsible Finance Committee of the Board and a prudent Business Office, Harding Academy has emergency funds, which will be used to immediately pay for these necessities. This week many families have offered to help defray the cost to the school. Listed below are the largest ticket items, which will provide the most thorough and effective campus security for our students, teachers, staff and families. These safety precautions include:

  • Bulletproof Laminate - Complete all external ground level entrances and windows as well as indoor windows and doors. This laminate provides protection against, not just bullets, but forced entry attacks and severe storms.
  • Campus Surveillance
    • We will be enhancing the number, capacity, and capabilities of our Avigilon security camera system to provide both more comprehensive coverage as well as enhanced notification capabilities. 
  • Two additional armed security personnel
    • Our newly instituted Department of Security will be led by Lt. Chuck Carter who will be on campus from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM. We are adding a second armed security guard to be on campus during normal school hours and a third full time armed security officer who will work 2:00 PM to 10:30 PM and therefore cover campus at all times when people are present. Note: We will continue to have three MNPD officers who will work on a regular basis at our special events, etc.  

Our first priority continues to be the safety and well being of our community. We are committed to providing our students a nurturing and enriching learning environment where they can be challenged and inspired by their teachers every single day. Sadly, we live in a world where that comes at an expense. Of course, we as a school believe it is of the utmost importance to allocate our time and resources. Based on the feedback from our families, we are offering an opportunity for our families to invest in these security measures with a fully tax deductible donation. You may do so by:

  • Sending a check made payable to “Harding Academy” with “Department of Security” in the memo line to 170 Windsor Drive, Nashville, TN 37205
  • Contributing via our secure online giving page HERE or via Venmo (@HardingAcademy) noting “Department of Security” in the comments section.
  • Provide funding via gifts of appreciated securities. For instructions on how to make a gift of securities or a wire transfer, please click HERE for instructions.

All funds collected for this purpose will go directly to defraying the cost for the resources listed above and will not be considered Harding Fund donations or gifts to the Building the Future capital campaign. Should we raise funds in excess of the amount needed for the above mentioned resources, an endowment will be created with those additional funds to support the salaries for our security personnel on a continuing basis.
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