Students Invent Simple But Brilliant Way to Thwart School Shootings

While adults wrench their hands with debate and policy wonk, the kids figure a way to protect themselves

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If necessity is the mother of invention, the constant threat of school violence can apparently inspire innovation, thanks to a group of Washington D.C. high schoolers.

Students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, whose building’s doors do not have side locks as a precaution for fire safety, watched the events at Sandy Hook Elementary and wondered if anything like that could happen at their school. So a team of the students designed what they called a “DeadStop,” a device that clasps around the v-shaped hinge attached to the closer mechanism on their school’s doors and prevents an intruder from entering a room.

“So many kids and adults were killed [in the Sandy Hook shooting],” Banneker junior Deonté Antrom told NBC news. “So we got together and we wanted to know how we could stop intruders from entering our school.” While not the first emergency door stopper, the DeadStop solves the problem of the device being used to lock a teacher out.

“The device we have is detachable,” classmate Anjreyev Harvey explained. “It will just be in the teacher’s desk and when there is an announcement that there is a shooter in the building, they will be able to take it out and simply install it on the hinge.”

The team behind the DeadStop was given a $10,000 grant by the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Program to develop the locks, and a Denver law firm will work with them pro bono on the patent. When they perfect the product, the items will sell for about $10 to $15 each.