A positive atmosphere benefitting a new school year was evident at the Tahquamenon Area Schools board meeting Monday evening. Superintendent Alice Walker introduced Luce County Emergency Management Cordinator Terry Stark, and the two explained an in-school security tool called The BOOT. The BOOT is a steel plate attached to the inside of a classroom door to make it entry proof. "Simply drop it to lock it," the brochure boasts.
Classroom doors in the school lock from the outside only, requiring a teacher to leave the room "into the line-of-fire" to lock doors in an emergency. Board Vice President Chris Beaulieu finds the system a security measure he can support. "I don't want 14-foot, double barded wire fences to protect our students and staff....but this is an added piece of security for those within our four walls." He suggested that interested citizens visit the website thelockdownco.us.
"It's costly (around $28,000)," Walter conceded, "but there is a program called Adopt-A-Door." Institutions seek donations (the system costs around $200 per door) from clubs, businesses and individuals. Stark told the board, "I want to donate the first five doors in memory of my wife, Margaret." Walker followed with a pledge to purchase another door.
The momentum carried through a resolution to contract the Okemos, MI manufacturer who will schedule a door-by-door evaluation with local emergency personnel and school officials.