SRO comes up with new way to help keep students safer in school

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 4:01 PM CDT
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RICE LAKE, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, a school going into lockdown and immediately wondering if your child is safe.

For Officer Andy, safety in schools is his priority.

“That’s my main focus any time myself or the other officers are in the building,” he says.

Rice Lake School Resource Officer Andy Jondreau says that’s why he asks teachers to keep classroom doors locked.

“With students coming in and going to different classrooms or different specials and things like that, it was interrupting their class time having to go and open their door all the time,” he says.

To help limit those interruptions, Officer Andy started a lesson in trial and error; How could the doors be locked and allow students to come and go?

“It’s just a piece of laminated tagboard with a couple magnets on it.”

He designed a magnet that fits over the door lock that allows for the doors to remain locked yet allow students to come and go.

But the design wasn’t durable enough.

That’s how Officer Andy ended up in principal Natalie Springer’s office.

“When Officer Andy and I were talking about this, he wanted to come up with an idea where we could pull them out of the door if the emergency came about,” she says.

A little bit of duct tape, or in this case...

“It’s just a larger flexible magnet with a larger piece of gorilla tape wrapped around it,” Officer Andy says. “The door can close and still be locked.”

He says it’s so simple, a child can do it.

“They can tell a kid, one of the students, to go pull the tab and shut the door. Then it’s done, it’s locked.”

While Officer Andy hopes the pull tab magnets are never used in an emergency situation, it is always important to be prepared.

“It’s like that old adage of the duck. Under the water you’re paddling like crazy, but on the top you’re still calm. Just try to keep things moving and stay on top of stuff.”

All while making sure students and staff feel safe in their learning environment.

Officer Andy says he will be testing the new devices at Hilltop Elementary to make sure they stand up to everyday wear and tear, with hopes to have one on every door across the Rice Lake School District.

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