KINGMAN - Staff at Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School have taken student safety into their own hands.
Worried about the possibility of another school shooting similar to one last year in Newtown, Conn., KAOL Principal Trudi Bradley partnered with McDonald's and Northwest Lock and Safe to install new locks on all classroom doors. Also, staff participated in crisis-situation training and an additional gate was installed outside the playground area for added security.
KAOL Intermediate and Middle schools already have doors that lock on the inside, but the high school's doors still lock from the outside, said KAOL District Administrator Susan Chan.
All Kingman Unified School District schools have classroom doors that lock from the inside to protect teachers and students from outside danger, said Superintendent Roger Jacks, and teachers are drilled on locking down their rooms.
Twenty children and six adult staff were fatally shot Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, committed suicide after first killing his mother at their Newtown home and then driving to the school, where he entered several classrooms and massacred students and teachers.
The incident is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead.
"In light of Sandy Hook, we've been working on safety precautions at the school," said Bradley. "Before the new locks, our classroom doors could only be locked from the outside. Safety for our students was our concern.
"How could our teachers quickly lock down their classrooms if they had to go out in the hall to do it?"
Bradley said she talked about her safety concerns with parents Abe and Tiffany Martinez, whose daughter attends second grade at KAOL. The couple owns the McDonald's franchise in Kingman and they decided to donate $5,600 to purchase 18 new door locks that can be secured with a key from the inside. Northwest Lock and Safe installed the new locks.
"With everything that's happening these days in schools, we wanted to do what we could to help at the local level," said Abe Martinez. "We're very happy with the results, and so are the teachers. Student safety is everyone's top concern these days."
Ron Gordon, who owns Northwest Lock and Safe, said two employees spent several days changing all the locks on the classroom doors. Gordon said his company did not charge the school to install the locks, which are called security classroom locks and hit the market several years ago.
"These types of locks are necessary now because of the crazies that are out there," said Gordon, whose grandchildren attend KAOL. "They make a big difference in protecting kids."
Bradley said the crisis-situation training, conducted by Kingman Police Sgt. Lyman Watson and KAOL School Resource Officer Pat Brock, taught staff to be on alert for dangerous situations. Bradley said staff members carry their keys more often and the school locks all outside doors except for the main entrance.
"Parents have to trust us to safely hold their children during the day," said Bradley. "Sandy Hook hit us really hard, and we made sure that we know where we would go and what we would do if something like that happened here."