Could This Middle School Teacher's Invention Save Our Kids During School Shootings?
byKaitlin StanfordJun 13, 2014
As tragic as it is, school shootings are sadly becoming more and more frequent in the U.S. with each passing day. After all, the numbers don't lie: There have been an astounding 74 school shootings since the Newtown massacre alone — and that was less than two years ago.
So what can we do to protect our kids? While the country stalls and quibbles over how exactly we can prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, one teacher has been brainstorming ways to protect our kids now, since gun laws don't seem to be changing anytime soon. And by the looks of his invention, it seems like he's really on to something.
The idea came after Dan Nietzel received "active shooter training" with his fellow teachers at West Middle School in Muscatine, Iowa. While safety trainers advised the teachers to tie a belt around the arm of the door closer, Nietzel felt that just wasn't going to cut it in a real event.
"We were instructed to tie a belt or a cord around the closer arm," he later told WQAD. "It seemed like a logical way to secure a door without having to go into the hallway, [but] it took us a long time to get a cord, stand on a chair and tie a knot, which could potentially be the most important tie of your life.
"I can tell you in our training, [in] all five rooms that the teachers were trained in, the doors were breached, the cords were ripped and the officer who was portraying the active shooter came in and killed all of us," he added.
So Nietzel set out to make something even better. Teaming up with a few of his fellow teachers, they formed Fighting Chance Solutions and created "The Sleeve" — a patent-pending, 12-gauge steel case that can slip over the door's arm and withstand 550-foot-pounds of pressure from the outside. In a true shooting event, the idea is that a shooter would grow frustrated with trying to break down the door and move on, away from the classroom.
"My hope is to show the rest of our nation that we have to be proactive in addressing this issue that is not going to go away," said Edwin Colón, who helped develop The Sleeve with Nietzel.