The safety of students and staff is Union Academy’s top priority. That’s why the school is partnering with its families and the Guardian Angel Barrier company to install security devices on all 165 classroom and other doors.
The devices use a reinforced steel winch and airline cable to secure a classroom in less than 10 seconds. The device attaches to the door itself, so that even if the doorknob is broken off, the classroom will still remain secure.
Lance Sargent, a retired high school teacher, came up with the idea for the device after participating in active shooter training in Missouri. According to the Guardian Angel Barrier website, Sargent decided to design a product which eliminated the potential for human error from securing interior school doors.
“For just the price of a textbook, you can lock down a classroom” Sargent said. “What’s important? I think keeping kids safe is number one, and educating them is second.”
Guardian Angel Barriers have been installed in schools nationwide since their product launch in 2016.
Union Academy teacher and parent Rebecca Yanacsek said she thinks the installation of the Guardian Angel Barriers is a great way to keep Union Academy personnel safe.
“It makes me feel valued as a person, as a parent and as an employee” Yanacsek said. “It allows me to help our students feel safer….and to react quickly and proactively instead of being reactive.”
Union Academy is a charter school, which means it does not receive capital funds that traditional public schools do; those funds are usually used for new buildings, maintenance or security upgrades. Family and community support is key to the success of this critical initiative.
The school asked its families to help defray the cost of the devices; so far, families have pledged more than $15,000 in support.
“As soon as the appeal went out, I thought OK, this is going to happen” Yanacsek said. “Our [faculty, parents, and extended families] are extremely committed to being here and being where their children are going to prosper. ”
Union Academy Headmaster Dr. Ann Walters said she appreciates the support from parents, families and the local community.
“I want parents to know we care, and we appreciate them caring and helping us make this happen” Walters said.
“My number one responsibility as the headmaster of this school is to keep our kids safe. I take it very seriously, and we’re going to do everything in our power so when [parents] drop their kids off at the door, they feel like their kid's in good hands.”
Local news stations FOX 46, WSOC-TV, Spectrum News and WCNC-TV came to Union Academy Tuesday morning to get coverage of the device installation and to see a demonstration of the Guardian Angel Barriers in action. Links to the news stories will be posted in a Google Doc as soon as they are received. Just click here to watch!