New device installed at local school helps protect students from potential shooters

- Union Grove Elementary School, in Iredell County, is taking steps to protect against a school shooting. They are now one of only two schools in the state to install a device they hope they'll never have to use. 

"I love every one of these children and they know it," said Principal Kelley James. "I felt like time was of the essence. I didn't feel like I could wait."

FOX 46 watched as a grown man ran into and repeatedly kicked a wood door equipped with the door barricade made by the Raleigh, NC-company Campus Safety Products. 

"It ain't moving," a worker said. 

After the Parkland, Fla. shooting, Principal James wanted to do something to keep her kids safe. With the help of the community she raised more than $10,000 to install the door barricades in nearly 50 classrooms. 

Each door barricade costs $250 with installation - a lot of money at a time when many schools are facing budget cuts.

Union Grove Elementary is the second school in the state to install this specific device.

"It's designed for a kindergartener to turn a classroom into a safe room," said Ed Johnson, the CEO of Campus Safety Products

He invented the device after Sandy Hook, when a gunman broke into kindergarten and first grade classrooms, killing 20 children. 

 "We want to put this on every door in a building," said Johnson. "Where someone can gain safe haven at a moment's notice."

He also created a device, which he asked not be described for security reasons, that gives law enforcement and fire crews the ability to bypass the barricade and gain entry to a locked room.

"How is this better than just locking the door?," asked FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant.

"Well, if you're a determined shooter," said Johnson, "you can take a couple rounds to a lock set, kick the door in and you're there."

The door barricade, called RhinoWare, is in use at Fort Knox, other schools across the country and a church in Charlotte, said Johnson. He says he is in talks to have it installed in every school district in Florida.

This is part of an uptick in armor aimed at kids. 

RELATED: Bulletproof backpacks: How effective are they?

"The phones have been ringing off the hook [since Parkland]," said Johnson. 

Online, there is a cottage industry of things like bulletproof shelters and bulletproof backpacks

"Maybe we need to look at hardening up schools instead of hardening up kids," said former sheriff's deputy Youef Sansour.

As for Principal James, the barricades offer peace of mind as much as it does security.

"The community has entrusted me with the safety of these children," she said. "It's a huge responsibility and one I don't take lightly."
 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in -- includes Advertiser Stories