BEAVERCREEK — Four parents raise money to keep Beavercreek City School children safer.
Creek Safe formed when Chris and Jennifer Beck and Scott Meghan Morgan were inspired after the Stoneman Douglass school shooting to do something to help make their own schools safer.
In 2018 the district held this proactive meeting to share some of the safety information and protocols already in place in the schools with parents and the community. Beavercreek City Schools District leaders told the audience that they were starting to install barricade door locks on some classrooms where it might be harder to get students out in an emergency situation, but didn’t have the funds to provide them for every classroom. That’s when the four parents stepped up to create a non-profit group to raise the money needed to equip all classroom doors in Beavercreek City Schools.
After securing a 501(c)3 status and registering with the State of Ohio, www.CreekSafe.com and @CreekSafe on Facebook went live at the end of May 2018.
“We broke our goal down into two phases to make it more manageable,” said Creek Safe President Chris Beck. “Phase 1 is the six elementary schools and Phase 2 will be the two middle schools, the freshman building, and the high school. Our reason for starting with the elementary schools was two-fold. First off, a child age 5-10 is less able to provide in their own defense, making them more vulnerable, and secondly because it’s much harder to explain to these young children why a ‘bad person with a weapon’ would be in their school in the first place.”
The group of parents knew they needed about $48,000 to get the locks, plus additional funds for installation. During the summer they hosted restaurant spirit night, T-shirt sales and pool nights. All of which got the students inspired to help too.
“There were kids hosting bake sales, lemonade stands, garage sales and even two girls who asked for donations to Creek Safe instead of birthday presents. It just really touched all of us how involved our community was,” said Creek Safe Treasurer Jennifer Beck.
The locks that Beavercreek had chosen and had started to install were from a company in California called Anchorman, Inc. Anchorman’s Emergency Door Barricade lock was created by two former SWAT officers, Jeff Coates and Tom Giandomenico, through their experience breaking down doors themselves.
The lock is attached to the bottom of the classroom door and is engaged by stepping on the lock. The lock plunger then goes down into a predrilled hole in the concrete floor to act as a deadbolt. This can be activated by anyone weighing over 50 pounds. It is quick, silent and has no technological components or fine motor skills needed. Once engaged, the door becomes a barrier that can withstand high velocity impacts and can only be unlocked by a button on the inside of the lock or through a special access key distributed to first responders from the outside.
Beavercreek City Schools, working with the Beavercreek Police and Fire Departments, selected this lock based on the cost effectiveness, threat reduction ability and because it complied with all applicable building codes.
For the parents running Creek Safe, the safety provided and the ease of use was the most important factor on why these devices needed to be installed as soon as possible throughout the district.
According to Chris Beck, three of the four founding members of Creek Safe have worked in school systems as educators at some point in their careers. With the Anchorman Emergency Door Barricade lock, teachers and students can lock their doors from the inside at the first sign of an emergency, preventing their classrooms from becoming targets, and allowing first responders more time to get to them.
The fantastic news is that in just five short months, Creek Safe’s Phase 1 was completed. The organization has raised more than $52,000 so far from private and corporate donations. They were able to purchase the initial 319 locks and present them to the school district in a ceremony on Nov. 13.
“We are now moving on to the middle and high schools,” said Jennifer Beck. “Since there are about 700 more kids than the elementary students covered by phase one and more locks are needed, we have set our next goal to $70,000 to cover the locks and installation. Approximately 380 locks to cover about 4,200 students in grades 6-12 are needed for this phase. When divided out, if each student/student’s family in grades 6-12 donates $20, we will have enough to get the locks here for Phase 2.”
“We are hopeful that each family would donate at least $20, or would be so generous to donate $150 to buy a lock itself to protect a whole classroom,” states Creek Safe Vice-President, Scott Morgan. “We have had corporate donations and grants to help offset the costs as well. The whole community has been very generous.”
According to Meghan Morgan, Creek Safe Secretary, they don’t want this to be something that only happens in Beavercreek, “We would love for every district to have a group of parents who does this same thing! Kids should be at school to learn and be kids. Let’s give them a little more time to enjoy that.”
Donations can be made and more information can be found at www.creeksafe.com and @Creeksafe on Facebook.