Armstrong installed safety device on all classroom doors in case of active threat

Armstrong installed safety device on all classroom doors in case of active threat
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Students across the country are pretty rattled by the news of the attack at Ohio State University, even here in Savannah.

Many of the students at Armstrong State University can't help but think about what they would do in this situation.

Similar to Ohio State, Armstrong officials tell me they have an automated alert that goes out to all students, teachers and faculty should anything like this happen. There's also a safety app that students can download and also allows them to contact campus police should they need immediate assistance.

But even with all of these measures in place, some students believe they still don't feel very prepared to handle a situation like this.

"There's pictures on doors, what happens when there's a shooter. Stay inside? I don't think anyone really pays attention to it," said Armstrong student Milad Keshavarz.

"I think we should be informed about how specifically to act instead of just seeing how everyone else is acting, it's more so in the moment rather than training for it," said Armstrong student Miranda Smith.

According to campus police, they do not do active shooter drills for students because it would disrupt class time, but all faculty and staff are required to go through training.

Campus police at Armstrong have installed a device on all classroom doors to ensure student safety in the event of an active threat inside the building.

WTOC spoke to the campus police chief Monday, who happens to be from Ohio. He didn't know anyone involved, but he says Ohio State -- like many older universities across the country - have classrooms that do not lock from the inside.

Most of the doors around Armstrong's campus only lock from the outside. Which means if there's an intruder on campus, teachers and students are not able to lock themselves in.

Campus Police Chief Wayne Wilcox says it would have cost the university more than $1 million to upgrade all of the doors, so they found a more affordable solution. It's an invention that was designed by someone who worked in an elementary school. It looks like a silver latch and is installed on the inside of the door frame.

This summer, officials installed one of these in each of their classrooms.

"This little device is very simple. It attaches to the door frame and you never unlock the door after that. So during the daytime the door is actually locked but it has a little lip that keeps the door from latching. It keeps the noise out of the classroom so the professors can teach, but the door never latches. In an emergency, all someone has to do is go the latch and flip it and now the door can close and it's locked," said Chief Wilcox.

Those devices only cost about $11 each so the university only spent a couple of thousand dollars to put on each classroom door. Officials tell me they are also working to put more comprehensive emergency plans online so that teachers and students can stay up-to-date with the protocol.

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