Twenty years ago when Terry Chambers became the principal at Gorman Christian Academy, the front doors were wide open.
Today, the doors are locked, and not just anyone can come and go.
“But with all those shootings and intruder events going on across the United States, when this came to us, we just felt like it was something we wanted to pursue,” he said.
One could step right over one of the safety devices without even noticing. At the entrance to every door, there are small steel slots in the floor. On the backside of the door is a triangle metal device designed to keep the door closed at all cost.
These special devices are called RhinoWare Door Barricades, and are made here in North Carolina.
Almost every student at this school is trained on how and when to use these devices. It only takes a second for the metal locking mechanism to swing right into place. Seventh grader Simone McNeil is one the students trained to lock the door.
“We do drills, and so I’m the person that has to go to the door and lift it up, and it goes really fast so I don’t have to worry about if I’m slow getting to the door,” he said. “I just have to pull it up and it is down.”
Emergency responders have a special device to unlock the doors from the outside. The device cost the school $200 per door — a small price to pay for the peace of mind for students, staff and parents.
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