As districts, educators and law enforcement grapple with ways to protect school communities from the peril of active shooter situations, one company is proposing security doors to transform classrooms into safe rooms.
"The idea of a safe room can be implemented everywhere," said Omer Barnes, founder and CEO of REMO Security Doors. The doors are resistant to gunfire, forced opening and explosive blast, Barnes said testing has shown. "The idea is kids can be safe. There is a safe place to be -- a safe place to hide."
The New Jersey based company has installed its doors in a public school in Harrington Park, as well as a number of private schools and religious facilities in the metropolitan New York area, Barnes said. In some cases, where the door is not the only possible point of entry, other precautions have to be taken to create safe room protection.
Local news from across Southern California
The doors cost approximately $2,500 apiece, which Barnes said is in the same range as many traditional classroom doors without special reinforcement.
Staff and administration at the Harrington Park school agreed with Barnes that having a safe retreat can provide reassurance to students, especially during lockdown safety drills in class.
"How to make it the safest it can be, but still a loving, nurturing environment. It's a no-brainer for us," Adam Fried, Harrington Park Superintendent, told WNBC at the time the Remo doors were installed in 2018.
The doors are manufactured in Israel, where Barnes grew up and became accustomed to safe rooms as a standard precaution. Even the manufacturing floor has access to safe rooms, Barnes noted.
In California, doors in some classrooms built prior to 2012 do not even have inside locks. Legislation that went into effect in 2019 requires inside locking to be added when state-funded improvements are made. But AB 3205 does not set any standards for the strength of the door. Those decisions are at the district's discretion.
Barnes acknowledged there are situations -- such as an attack erupting inside a safe room -- that can compromise its effectiveness, but not affect the protection afforded students and teachers harboring in other safe rooms.
REMO has reached an agreement for a demonstration installation of security doors early next year in a school in a major southern California district, according to Barnes, who said he is not yet authorized to identify the district.