New school year brings new classroom door barricades at SW Licking Schools

PATASKALA, OH (WCMH) — Southwest Licking school parents raised the money to buy door barricades for every class room in the district – that was a year ago, but because state fire and building code officials said the door barricades did not meet safety codes the devices sat dormant in a school closet. State lawmakers approved the devices and today district teachers are being trained how to put them in place.

Southwest Licking Local School District Communication Director Ben Richards said teachers are drill in what is being called “safety training day.” It is for teachers and staff, but that is not just about active shooter threats.

Teachers were curious about how to put the door barricades on and lined up to learn.

“I love it. I think it is really cool. It is easy to use and will make me feel safe in my classroom,” said Peggy Lou Savage, the Choir Director at Watkins Middle School.

Like most things learned, instructor said it’s about repetition. Installing the barricades on the doors so many times, it can be done without thinking during an emergency.

“It makes me feel a lot safer. I have always worried how I would keep an intruder out with my door that swings open so, this has given me a lot of confidence going into the school year with my students,” said Lori Hazzard, Spanish teacher at Watkins Middle School.

Southwest Licking Fire and SWAT Medic Troy Lowe invented the Barracuda Intruder Defense System after studying school shootings.

“In Virginia Tech where one of the people used their feet to hold the door back and in my mind starts twisting things around maybe come out and put pressure on the jam,” said Lt. Lowe. He designed the barracudas for school doors that swing in or out.

Teachers also learned about dealing with other disasters like weather, flooding, and toxic leaks.

“So what we are trying to do is get the internal staff of these schools to start thinking, not only what they do to deal with it, but if they had to get off the property,” said Licking County EMA Director Sean Grady. He said you hope it never happens, but plan for it anyway.

And other individual training like drug, mental illness and CPR.

Teachers have been in their classroom this week and all students will start class by next Tuesday.

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