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Parents raising money to buy door barricades

Original Article: Licking County News
Original Date: 09/29/2014
Original Author: Lori Wince

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Erin and Mark West are raising funds for the Southwest Licking school district to purchase classroom door barricades to help keep children safe if an active shooter would enter a school building.

“The Southwest Licking schools are doing what they should be doing to introduce a proactive approach,” Erin West said.

She said district officials are training staff members how to react if a shooter enters a building but “they do not have all the right tools for teachers.”

Troy Lowe, a West Licking Joint Fire District firefighter and a medic with the Licking County Sheriff’s Department’s SWAT team, said if an active shooter would enter, students would be evacuated from parts of the building away from the shooter.

Students who are close to the shooter’s location should be barricaded in the classroom for safety, he said.

“It’s definitely going to slow them down,” Lowe said of a door barricade. “If they can’t make a quick entry, they know they’re on a clock once they’ve fired their first shot, so they move on.”

Erin West said barricades can cost $100 to $200.

Her group, Southwest Licking Parents and Community Standing With Administrators and Teachers Against School Violence, was formed in July and has raised $17,000 to purchase barricades.

She said the group estimates it would need $33,000 to have barricades in all district classrooms.

Lowe invented a product called the Barracuda Intruder Defense System, which currently is used at the Muskingum University Center for Childhood Development in New Concord, the NRHEG public schools in Minnesota and the Magnet Cove school district in Arkansas, according to the manufacturer’s website.

The product is being built by Bilco of Zanesville and a patent is pending, according to the website.

Lowe said he developed the product after participating in active-shooter training.

“Basically from our training, I was seeing that the fine-motor skills of people who are under stress go away so I invented a device that’s quick and easy to deploy,” he said.

The Barracuda is a free-standing device that can be used to lock a door and prevent someone from entering, according to the website.

West said the parents group is considering all products available and is in the process of a fundraising campaign in all three Southwest Licking elementary schools called Change Wars to Protect the Doors.

A school district resident donated 300 buckets for elementary classrooms to use. Students are trying to collect as much change as possible, which will be donated to the cause.

West said the elementary schools are competing with one another to see which one can raise the most change.

She said the group also is accepting donations through the Watkins Middle School PTO.

She said more information is available on the group’s Facebook page: SWL Parents and Community SWAT.