Local school focused on school safety


For Immediate Release
November 6, 2018


FALLS CHURCH, Va.  – Saint James Catholic School in Falls Church is offering Safe Students Online this fall to help parents keep their children safe from threats found on social media.   The program is for all parents of 4th-8th grade students. The program allows parents to monitor their children’s social media activity for inappropriate or potentially dangerous posts and will receive alerts to help them act when necessary. The tool is available through participating schools.

“At Saint James, we are committed to providing a safe environment in which to educate our children, and where all those who come to find the sacred in Sacrament and community may recognize the face of Christ in each other,” says Fr. Patrick Posey, pastor at Saint James Catholic Church.


Additional Security Systems Added in 2018-2019:


  • Guard911 gives faculty, staff, catechists, coaches, clergy and religious a way to broadcast emergency messages instantly to each other (http://schoolguard.guard911.com/) (photo attached)
  • Door Jammers gives teachers a quick and easy way to make it extremely difficult for an intruder to enter their classrooms (installed at bottom of door and into floor – (photo attached).


  • Blue Light Lockdown Notification System to be installed at the school in the spring of 2019, will give all building occupants and those outside on school grounds immediate notification of the presence of a dangerous intruder so that they can get behind a locked door or evacuate, if possible.


Other security initiatives in place at Saint James Catholic School and Church include the following:


  • Written emergency response plans for both the church and school. The school conducts drills on their plan every week. 
  • Security cameras installed throughout the campus.
  • School doors are kept locked. Entrance to the school requires being “buzzed in” or swiping a security badge.
  • Installed locking push bars on all doors of the church, so that the church can control access during Mass, while also allowing easy exit for those who are inside.
  • The parish is in continuous consultation with the City of Falls Church Police Department and the City of Falls Church Emergency Management. The City provides annual security trainings for parish employees. In 2017, the City began running “scenarios” with school staff, including some involving an active shooter situation. Recently, the Chief of Police for Falls Church, nominated Saint James Catholic School as “Employees/Community Heroes of the 3rd Quarter of 2018” because of its commitment to safety and security.

  • Two years ago, a group of parishioners with law enforcement credentials consulted the parish on additional security measures.


  • The parish is in consultation with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington Risk Management Office as are all the parishes in the Arlington Diocese.  Two years ago, Risk Management conducted an all-day security training for our ushers.