Victory Early Childhood Center receives additional security.

June 9, 2015

victory_the bootBy Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — Last week Victory Early Childhood Center became the first school in Mason County to instal a room by room intruder deterrent system. A device called The Boot, was installed in the doorways of each of center’s classrooms and the office. The metal device, which looks kind of like a large horseshoe-shaped magnet, is manually placed in the threshold of the doorway after the door is shut and locked. It is made to withstand several hundred pounds of pressure.

“Our goal is to keep our kids safe,” said Angela Taylor, center director. “I saw a demonstration of this product recently and knew we needed this for our schools. Victory has always been a leader in childhood education and we wanted to be a leader in safety too.”

The devices were installed last Friday. During that time, representatives of The Lockdown Company of Fowlerville trained school employees and deputies from Mason County Sheriff’s Office on how to install and uninstall the device. State Senator Darwin Booher was also  on site to see the device.

“We have always been trained that in case of an intruder in the school we needed to darken the room and huddle everyone in a corner,” Taylor said. “This device now allows our teachers the opportunity to make the decision to stay in the room or exit out an exterior door, and run.”

Sheriff Kim Cole was on site and said he was very impressed with the device.

“This device buys the school employees and the children time and space,” Sheriff Cole said. “It allows law enforcement time to get to the school during a crisis.”

In addition to The Boot, ballistic shields are being installed at the entrance doors of the school. The shields are decorative with the school logo on them. However, they can withstand a variety of bullet calibers. The company also installed reflective room number placards too. The placards are staggered up and down which allows first responders an easy way to identify room numbers.

“When emergency personnel respond to buildings, such as schools, it’s often difficult to identify the exact location of the emergency,” Cole said. “These placards are designed to be highly reflective, allowing our LED lights to shine on them.”

Taylor said the total cost of the project was $8,000. Of that, The Lockdown Company paid for almost half. The remainder was paid for through state grant money. Cole said he is in the process of researching grants to have the devices installed in all schools in Mason County, public and private. He said he will be discussing the topic with school administrators.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children,” Cole said. “This is a subject that is dear to me and was one of my goals when I took office. The area schools have made great strides in the past few years to secure their buildings and to train their staff and students on what to do in case of a shooter incident. This mechanism is the most impressive device I have seen to date. One of our officers attempted to bust open one of the school’s classroom doors and couldn’t do it. He pretty much used all his force.”

Sen. Booher, who sits on the Senate appropriations committee, said he is going to begin studying the possibility of how the state can be directly involved in funding these devices.

“I just can’t think of anything that is more important,” Booher said.