EAGLE POINT, Ore. -- Parents expect their students to be safe when their kids are at school. A Southern Oregon school district is making it harder for someone to break through their schools’ windows. Windows and doors at Eagle Point School District schools are covered in SolarGard ®. It’s a film that holds shattered glass together when it’s hit or shot at, like you can see here in the company's video. The left side shows how quickly an intruder is able to get through a shattered window without SolarGard ® in about 10 seconds. On the right, the video shows the intruder trying to break through a window with SolarGard ®. It takes about a minute and a half for him to get through.
"I've heard over and over again the last couple of years with school shootings that if we had some way of knowing, 15-20 seconds to respond could have saved lives. Our district made a significant financial investment to make sure we have solargards in all of our schools," said the Attendance and Student Services Supervisor for the Eagle Point School District, Phil Ortega.
The Eagle Point School District describes SolarGard ® as an extra layer of deterrent for someone trying to bust through a window. It allows faculty and students extra time to get to safety.
"It’s frustrates [the intruder]. They had a plan in place and now they have something that's stopping them from doing that so now they're focusing on a window as opposed to trying to focus on trying to find that next target, which once again, is buying seconds," said the School Resource Officer, Officer Michael Anselmi.
In a school shooting every second counts.
"Seconds can mean pulling a kid from a hallway when they went to a restroom to get into a classroom so they don't become a victim. It gives staff enough time to deal with students with special needs to get them the medication or things that they might need to survive. It means the world," said Ortega.
The Eagle Point School District said this is just one way it’s protecting its students from becoming potential victims. On Wednesday, Hillside Elementary School practiced what to do just in case someone did come on campus and threaten everyone’s safety.
"We are going to have a drill. I repeat we are going to have a drill at this point we are going to follow with our ALICE protocol and we are going to be barricading our classrooms," said Principal Jodi Salinas over the PA system. She said practice makes perfect.
"Because when we practice it becomes automatic and that's why we practice fire drills so that it becomes automatic so if they hear this they know to do this. So depending on the situation they know how to react and keep themselves safe," Salinas added.
ALICE drills are no exception. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate it helps keep students and faculty safe if there is an intruder on campus. The school district said this drill is important for students of all ages.
"Every single day that I come to school, I ask myself did I do more harm than good. When we practice, we initiate a sense of direction and ownership of my safety, for their safety, for staff safety so I appreciate that our school district does practice and make it a priority," Ortega said.
Staff, including Salinas, Ortega and Anselmi went to different classrooms making sure, students were inside, the doors were locked and windows were covered so if the real thing happened, students would know exactly what to do.
"Because our kids’ lives depend on it," Ortega said.
NewsWatch 12 reached out to other school districts in our region. The Ashland School District said it is currently reviewing a product similar to SolarGard ®.
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