Parents of children at Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan — the site of a recent school shooting — thanked the manufacturers of a door barricade security device they believe saved their children’s lives.
The Mt. Morris, Michigan, company Nightlock Lockdown had installed similar door stopper devices in schools across the district prior to the shooting, WEYI-TV reported.
Thanks to the devices, parents told WEYI-TV, hundreds of students were kept safe during the Nov. 30 shooting that killed four and wounded seven when a sophomore stormed into the building and fired upon students in the hallways in a shooting spree.
Nightlock offers multiple devices designed to stop and lock doors in place in cases of emergency, according to the company’s website.
One such device family, specifically designed for school lockdown events, anchors the door of a classroom, dorm or daycare facility to the ground through a floor plate — blocking access to a potential intruder, according to the company’s website.
“It’s not a lock until it needs to be; it’s a piece of hardware that mounts to the door and another piece that mounts to the floor. The locking device is a red handle that lives in a wall box on the wall beside the door,’’ Cris Ahearn, Nightlock’s sales director, told The Mercury News.
When there is a lockdown, people inside a room equipped with the lock can take the red handle from the wall box and slide it into a slot in the door until the other end goes into a notch on the floor plate.
“If a classroom door has glass … and the perpetrator tries to break the glass and reach in and turn the handle to gain entry into the room, they can’t do that because the door is locked at the floor,’’ Ahearn told The Mercury News.
After Michigan passed a law last year mandating door barricade devices in schools as a security measure, the company installed more of the locks in schools across the state, according to WEYI-TV. The Oxford school district reportedly had 700 devices installed in its schools.
Nightlock co-founder Jack Taylor told WEYI-TV that in the nine years the company has sold locking devices to schools, he never expected that a tragedy like the one that happened at the high school would occur.
“It just breaks our hearts,” Taylor told the outlet. “When we first got into this business, we knew we could help. We were in the residential barricade business, helping protect people’s homes, but when we started working with the schools and protecting people in schools, it was a new mission.”
The company first began making locks for residential buildings to thwart home invasions, The Mercury News reported.
The owners of the company first began their business as a hobby after their parents’ home was broken into. They began manufacturing residential locks as a side-hustle and would sell the locks over the internet.
The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in 26 deaths, was the turning point where the company started producing locks for schools as well, according to The Mercury News.
“After Sandy Hook, teachers started calling. They wanted these devices for their classrooms, but that (residential) device doesn’t meet code as far classroom for egress,’’ Ahearn told the outlet.
“So the lockdown device was designed based on a collaboration with school administrators and code officials to come up with something that is safe and effective. We’ve been doing that since 2012, since Sandy Hook.”
Ahearn told The Mercury News that over the course of the recent week, Nightlock Lockdown received a lot of emails and social media posts from parents and children expressing gratitude that the school installed their product.
“It’s just overwhelming, the feeling that we get knowing that we saved lives,” Taylor told WEYI-TV.
According to him, this is the first time the device was used in a school-shooting event.
“Thank you… Specifically to Joe, we’re so grateful for what you did, and I hope you know that what you do saved so many kids,” said Carri Morris, an Oxford High School parent, WEYI-TV reported.
“Nightlock worked, they should be in every building, in every school,” another parent Rick Morris told the outlet.
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