A parents group raised money so every elementary school door in this local district will have new locks

As elementary students in Beavercreek enjoy the holiday break, a local company will be busy installing the first batch of classroom locks bought with money raised by a parents’ group.

The locks, which can be quickly engaged to prevent unwanted intruders from entering a room, are the result of work by a small group of parents who came together in the wake of the mass school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

The parents created the nonprofit group Creek Safe Inc. and raised $52,000. The organization held 55 fundraising events in about five months, said parent and co-founder Jennifer Beck.

“People have been really generous helping out when they find out what we’re doing,” Beck said. “It’s taken a lot of time and effort but it’s definitely worth it.”

The district hopes to have locks installed by the end of winter break, spokesman Ryan Gilding said.

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In all, 320 locks were purchased, enough to cover every door in the district’s six elementary school buildings.

A California company, Anchorman Inc., makes the locks, which can be unlocked from the outside only by a special key that police or firefighters will have access to, said Anchorman co-founder Jeff Coates.

“It’s a lot quicker than shoving furniture up against the door,” said Coates, an ex-Los Angeles County SWAT officer who said he got the idea for the locks from his work in law enforcement.

Bellbrook Fence Company is donating labor to install the locks in the schools, organizers said.

In a phone interview, Coates said he recently visited Beavercreek and was “overwhelmed” by the amount of support he saw from parents, district leaders and others.

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He said his locks are being used in at least 15 public schools in Ohio, and are also in some charter and private schools across the state.

“We don’t do a lot of advertising. I don’t want to sell these to the masses,” Coates said. “They are for schools and businesses.”

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Beck said the locks provide that “extra piece of mind” for her and others who wanted to do something to increase security in their children’s schools.

“It’s so hard to drop your kids off,” she said. “Just to know we provided one little piece of help to slow somebody down helps me sleep at night.”

The Creek Safe parents have now set their sights set on buying more locks for the district’s freshman building, two middle schools and the high school. They have set a goal of raising $70,000.

Beck said the group will be sending flyers home with more than 4,200 students to inform parents about the campaign.

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