GEORGETOWN, Ohio — Welding students at Southern Hills Carrier and Technical Center have envisioned a new way to keep classrooms safe in the wake of a school shooting.
Seniors Kerstin Hartman and Jantsen Crank came up with the idea for a lightweight, easy to use barricade to stop potential intruders from entering a classroom from the outside.
“It all started after the school shooting in Florida,” said Hartman. “We all started thinking of ways we could protect ourselves and others.”
The two said that instead of walking out of class during national school walkouts earlier in the month, they decided to do something they felt was more hands on.
“We decided to do something to help with our resources here,” said welding instructor John Adams.
According to Adams, he told his students that it was OK to be sad but something had to be done about it.
Hartman said that they just put their minds together to be able to make their school safer and they came up with the idea for their device.
“We actually had a door lock that our instructor made himself but it started causing damage to the frame of the door,” Hartman said.
Crank said that they also had bars to slide across the door and clip on to keep the door barricaded.
“We decided that instead of making those we would make something that would fit into the door frame and the doorknob at the same time,” Hartman said.
Hartman said that the process began with getting a measurement of the door frame. Then, according to Hartman, they drew out the measurements and cut them with their plasma cutter. Crank said that they went through two or three prototypes before settling on the current design.
The device is designed to fit on the side of the frame of an outward-swinging door and latch around the doorknob. It is chained and fastened by the door in a way that would make it virtually impossible for a normal adult to pry it open, according to Adams. It also comes in versions for doors with the doorknob on the left side or right side of the door. It currently only works on doors that swing outward, but Crank said they are working on a way to work with doors that swing inward.
“You simply take the thing off the holder and you stick it in the doorknob,” Hartman said. “It’s simple, but it’s effective.”
Adams said that the device is so simple that a student could put it on without a teacher needing to be present.
According to Hartman, the students and their teacher have been reaching out to local schools to see if they have an interest in the device.
“We have people from North Carolina wanting them too,” Hartman said.
Hartman said that the making the devices has been a team effort from the entire senior welding class.
Adams said that the moment they put the device on their classroom door he was at a loss for words.
“I looked at it and we all sat quietly for a second,” Adams said. “Then I said, ‘You don’t know the power of what you’ve just done. This could save lives.’”
According to Adams, they’re seeking a patent on the device as of press time. He said he wouldn’t mind giving back half of any money the device would potentially make to student funds locally and abroad.