Kentucky superintendent enlists community funding to help secure schools
A Kentucky school district wants to purchase a device that helps barricade classrooms.
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The new Taylor County High School opened just this year with security in mind.
Principal Laura Benningfield said officials became concerned there could be weaknesses, specifically that an attacker could shoot out the windows in the classroom doors and easily open them.
“We definitely have our secure entrances and exits," she said. We have cameras on all the doors."
The challenge of keeping students safe in school has become even more urgent after the recent mass shootings in Marshall County, Kentucky, and Parkland, Florida.
The solution, according to Taylor County Superintendent Roger Cook, was a device he discovered called a Barracuda. Cook said it installs in seconds and barricades doors, preventing them from opening either in our out.
“You can take an automatic weapon and shoot a lock out and push the door open," Cook said. "With this, you wouldn't be able to do that."
But the device costs $125 for each door, and there are more than 300 doors in the district's four schools.
“It's probably about $30,000 to $40,000,” Cook said.
So Cook took to Facebook to launch an Adopt-A-Door program, asking donors to chip in at least $100 per door. He even offered to stencil the donor's name on the device.
“It gets community buy-in," he said. It gets parent buy-in."
The response was overwhelming: more than 75 donors in less than 24 hours, some offering to pay for multiple doors.
“It's really encouraging that the parents and the community want to help you get involved in school safety,” Cook said.
Teachers said they appreciate the effort.
“I personally do not want to be armed," Taylor County science teacher Geofff McPherson said. "So anything they can do to make sure that the kids are safe."
Students also approved the plan.
“I think it would be a great idea to get," one student said. "If they can spend money on other stuff, they can definite spend money on that."
Cook said he plans to order the Barracudas right away and begin installing them as soon as possible.
“I just think it's a win-win for everybody,” he said.
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