Martinsville ISD installs door barriers in effort to improve district's safety
MARTINSVILLE, TX (KTRE) - Martinsville Independent School District. Home of the Fighting Pirates. The mascot may look mean enough to protect the 400 students, but these days security relies on state-of-the-art technology.
"You just kinda kick it," Zach Crawford, the secondary principal, said as he demonstrated.
A heavy metal piece attached to the base of a classroom door instantly falls into a heavy locking device.
One of the smallest school districts in Nacogdoches County was on the cutting edge of using the door barricade, the Rhino lock.
"Many years ago, Martinsville was one of the first the school districts in the nation to implement these," Crawford said. "And just this week we have received updated installments of the Rhino lock."
Martinsville ISD may have been the first to use the highly effective barricade systems when the company was in its infancy, but the district had to wait all summer long to receive the upgrades.
Today, there's a long list of schools coast to coast waiting for installations. It's designed to be simple enough for a five-year-old to engage.
RhinoWare installer and sales rep Brent Miller has crossed the state and nation. He's in Martinsville now upgrading and installing more than 80 barricades.
"It's a door barricade system (with) the ability to engage in a second, literally in a second. It's gravity fed," Miller explained.
Miller grabbed his drill to install another barricade on classroom doors, closets and offices. He's crisscrossed the state and nation installing the sought after device.
A company spokesman said the barricades are $250 apiece and can be found in banks, casinos, and even Fort Knox, but it's schools creating an unprecedented product demand.
"It's not about the money. It's not about the growth. It's about keeping our kids safe," Miller said.
A similar philosophy is followed by Martinsville ISD leaders. The district accountant tells us two years ago $24,000 dollars was spent on a server, cameras, and entry revisions.
An estimated $1,200 drone is for overhead surveillance and emergency drill training.
Doorknob barricades are available for added protection.
A playground is no longer by a major highway. It was moved to an interior location enclosed by a fence for $12,000.
The biggest budgeted item is a full-time district police officer.
"Martinsville has been talking about it for two years, and after the Santa Fe shooting, they really ramped up their efforts to get one going," said security director Steve Gilcrease. "And this summer, they decided this time to start a police department."
Once the district department receives its state certificationn his title will change to police chief.
Fall festival money is a pittance but was willingly added to the tens of thousands of tax dollars to pay for the protection measures.
"I think it is fantastic," said Donna Butts, a grandmother to several students. "I am a retired teacher and the safety is just what we all are so concerned about."
Kaitlyn Revill, a Martinsville High School senior, "I wish we didn't have to use those type of things, but we know it's necessary."
Engineered technology to concerned individuals illustrate school security remains a top priority.
Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved.