One size will never fit all when it comes to making schools safe. For every safeguard schools take, evil-minded individuals will devise ways to inflict terror.
But schools and communities must react and take every reasonable precaution possible to reduce the risk of a school tragedy.
Hancock County has taken a proactive step with the Boot, a crime-prevention project which got underway in 2016 and has now generated over $300,000 in contributions from hundreds of businesses, groups and individuals.
Money raised through the Crime Prevention Association of Findlay/Hancock County is being used to buy and attach a heavy steel device known as the Boot to the inside of classroom doors.
When installed and locked into place, the boot will prevent a gunman or other intruder from entering a classroom. The device also contains a release mechanism only law enforcement can activate to enter a room after it has been secured.
So far, over 600 boots have been installed at three county schools and five city schools, with the goal of outfitting every public and private school door in the county as soon as possible.
It’s an ambitious goal, no doubt, considering it will take 1,899 boots in all and another $112,000 in donations to fully fund the countywide project.
Beth Baker, the sheriff’s crime prevention specialist, said more than 500 separate donations have already been received for the project, including several large corporate ones.
But size doesn’t matter. Some parent-teacher organizations have donated to Boots for their districts. Various groups have held fundraisers for specific doors for certain teachers or classrooms.
Yet, more contributions must come to get the job done.
So far, 1,339 doors have been funded, leaving 560 to go. That’s doable.
The easiest way to donate toward a $200 Boot is by going to the Crime Prevention Association website (www.crimepreventionfhc.com) and clicking on “The Boot.” Checks or cash can also be dropped off at the Hancock County Justice Center on Crawford Street.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of another school shooting, discussions about guns and improving school safety are taking place on the state and federal levels. We can all hope something positive comes out of the Parkland, Florida, massacre.
Findlay resident Jack Cramer wrote in a Feb. 26 letter to the editor: “The only thing a child should fear when they enter their school is whether or not they are going to pass today’s pop quiz. Schools must be a safe zone, the Boot can help.”
We agree. If nothing else gets done other than installing a Boot on every school door in Hancock County, we will have still done far more than most to protect our youth.
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