PARMA, Ohio– With a new school year beginning soon in Parma, among the many preparations school administrators are making is to add a new layer of security in each of its more than 900 classrooms.
Watching active shooting events at schools and elsewhere across the country, Superintendent Charles Smialek says he can take nothing for granted.
“At first you are sad for the families that are impacted and sad for the communities, you know, but beyond that you do as an educator think about, ‘wow, are we ready?'” said Smialek.
Particularly given the tragic shooting in Chardon seven years ago, Smialek says he realizes no school district is immune.
“Parma is not immune; Cleveland is not immune; Westlake’s not immune. We all have to make sure that we are as prepared as possible for what could be a horrible tragedy,” he added.
The district already instructs its teachers and students on the A.L.I.C.E. program which, in part, teaches them to create a secondary barrier of desks, file cabinets, and other objects beyond simply locking the classroom door.
The additional barrier is intended to make it more difficult for someone to enter the room and help delay them long enough to give law enforcement more time to respond and eliminate the threat.
Going the extra measure, Parma City Schools enlisted the advice of police from Parma, Parma Heights, and Seven Hills in which the district has school buildings, for a recommendation of what additional device they might be able to use to help secure classrooms.
The result is the purchase of more than 900 devices called “nightlock.”
Nightlock is a simple device made of hardened steel which can be quickly and easily secured to a door.
At Parma City Schools, the device secures the door to the floor creating what its manufacturer describes as an “impenetrable” barrier for any intruder.
“There’s no foolproof way, right, to make us 100-percent safe. That just can’t happen, but what we can do is take as many proactive steps as we possibly can and the nightlock is one more step in the event that somehow there is an active shooter and they go in to try to get in one of our classrooms we have one more measure to make sure our students are as barricaded as possible,” said Smialek.
The superintendent gave FOX 8 a demonstration of the device on Thursday, showing just how effective it is in addition to the lock that is already on the door.
It is not meant as a substitute for any of the security measures that are already being taught.
If nothing else the superintendent believes it will give parents, teachers and students additional peace of mind.