RALEIGH, N.C. — In just a few weeks, Wake County students will head back to the classroom and school safety remains the top concern for many parents.
District leaders are looking to address school safety concerns before the 2022-2023 school year.
In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, there has been a renewed focus on how to make sure students in a classroom can be more secure.
Right now, door locks aren’t fool-proof. But there’s a product created by a local couple that could make door locks fool-proof.
“Any law enforcement officer will tell you that two, three [gun]shots into that lock set, and a swift kick, and you’re in the room,” said Ed Johnson, the CEO of “Campus Safety Products, LLC.
That’s where his device “RhinoWare” comes in.
Johnson and his wife were living in Raleigh when they first came up with a way to secure doors, and prevent people from getting inside any room.
“There’s a little mechanism at the top near the door handle that you just lift up and then release and then it just automatically falls in place,” he explained.
It’s a simple fix that could save a life.
“It was designed such that a child, a five-year-old, under severe duress hearing gunshots can turn her classroom into a safe room in one second,” said Johnson.
The device has already been installed in buildings across the country: from Fort Knox to Gorman Christian Academy in Durham, and East Wake Academy in Zebulon.
Johnson told CBS17 that after a recent meeting with the security director, Wake County Public Schools could be next.
“There was a recent assessment performed for Wake County Schools and they’re acting on it,” he added.
That safety assessment, created by an outside organization was presented in 2021.
In the 15-page document, the team recommended some changes to make Wake County Schools safer. Some of the recommendations were for more and expanded security training for staff, or enhancing volunteer screening protocol.
The document also noted that some staff members wanted physical security measures added to the buildings.
“They’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars, school districts are, on things that are really aren’t going to be effective,” explained Johnson. “All these cameras, you know, all this bulletproof glass and everything, they can all be circumvented. Rhinoware is the last line of defense.”
The device costs $525 per door. Johnson said Wake County School leaders are interested but at this time, no decision for installation has been made.
He told CBS17 they will be installing the “Rhinos” at Neuse Charter School in Smithfield this week and hope to add more schools to the list.