In a little more than a year after the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, Beavercreek parents raised enough money to buy and install special door locks for every classroom in all but two of the district’s 10 school buildings.
That represents more than $105,000 in fundraising, about 500 locks made by California-based Anchorman Inc., and the donated services of the Bellbrook Fence Company.
And they’re not done yet. Plans by the parent-led nonprofit organization Creek Safe, Inc. are to raise an additional $30,000 to buy enough locks for Beavercreek High School and the freshman building, Ferguson Hall.
“We hope this is something we put in place and never need it. But better to have it and not need it, kind of like insurance,” said Creek Safe co-founder Chris Beck.
The locks can secure a door from an unwanted intruder but can be opened by a police officer or firefighter responding to an emergency. The locks are easy to miss, with a dowel pin hanging on the wall that can be quickly inserted into a small locking mechanism on the foot of the door.
Creek Safe volunteers and Bellbrook Fence Company workers took advantage of this week’s Thanksgiving break to install the locks on 84 doors inside Ankenney Middle School and 100 doors in Jacob Coy Middle School.
Bellbrook Fence Owner Jeff Bell has donated time, money and laborers to get the locks installed. Bell, who has three children in three different buildings in the district, said the locks provide “a little bit of something to keep them more secure that’s worth every penny.”
“(The locks) have the ability for a first-responder to still get in the room while it’s secured, and it’s well secured,” Bell said. “I don’t know what it would take to get through that door.”
The fundraising started in May 2018 after parents attended a school board meeting in the months following the Parkland shooting. Fourteen students and three staff members were killed in the shooting, while 14 others were wounded. Parents, such as Chris’ wife Jennifer Beck, wanted to know what could be done to increase security in the schools.
“You know you drop them off and you think they’re taken care of until they come home at the end of the day,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer said she likes that the locks are sort of part of the classroom infrastructure and unobtrusive.
“You don’t want to talk to kindergarteners about some guy coming in with a gun and shooting up their classroom,” she said. “You don’t even want to have that discussion with them, so at least they can just lock the door and the kids don’t even know.”
For fifth-grader Max Morgan, whose parents joined the Becks in establishing support for Creek Safe, the locks are a “more efficient way to provide safety.” Plus it’s quicker and easier than “to have to barricade the doors with desks and chairs.”
“They used to have to pick three or four of the strongest kids in the class and they would have to pick up the desks and push them over, and do the chairs and the tables. Now you can just have anybody go over, step on it, takes like five seconds,” Max said.
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