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Inventors help keep schools safe

By Laura Freeman | Hudson Hub-Times Published: June 23, 2014 4:00 AM

An intruder enters a school, office building or government facility, and a lockdown is declared. But how secure is the door, the only barrier between the shooter and his victims?

That inability to quickly and effectively barricade interior doors in a shooter situation led Hudson residents Bill Cushwa and Dave Soulsby to create the National School Control Systems company in 2013 and invent the BEARACADE Door Control System.

The BEARACADE slides under a door and a quarter-inch stainless steel pin is inserted into the floor. The device secures the door in 8 seconds, and the door can be opened in less by pulling the pin for easy exiting if necessary, a feature the fire code requires.

It will work on doors that swing inward, outward and double doors, Cushwa said.

"Dave and I wanted a lightweight, but strong device someone could deploy very quickly," Cushwa said. "When hostile intruder events are over in minutes, seconds count. We didn't want the delay or chaos of trying to find items in a room to barricade a door. We also needed to work within the confines of building and fire codes."

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BEARACADE weights less than 1 pound but can hold back 4,000 pounds of external force, Cushwa said. First responders can see that the door is secured with the reflective striped decal when they sweep the building.

"We wanted a level of confidence, and even though the device is a simple-looking piece, it has a lot of thought going into it," Cushwa said.

National School Control Systems shipped 500 devices June 18 to Mentor Public Schools, which includes 14 schools and serves 8,447 students.

Seton Catholic School in Hudson will add the BEARACADE to its facility this summer, Cushwa said. They have contacts in the United States and Canada through school board conferences.

Shootings at Virginia Tech University in 2007, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 and dozens more in schools, workplaces and military bases made citizens join together to find a way to protect students.

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Hudson had a Keep Hudson Safe Initiative meeting in January 2013 to discuss possible solutions. Safer entrance ways, more police presence and the identification and treatment of mental illness were introduced as possible answers.

The seeds for the invention were planted during quarterly school safety meetings with Hudson City Schools, Seton Catholic School, Western Reserve Academy and Hudson Montessori School, Cushwa said.

"I wanted to create a tool to put in the hands of a teacher," Cushwa said. "The first responders."

Design Molded Plastics in Twinsburg uses high impact injection molded polymers to make the BEARACADE product, Cushwa said.

"We knew we could engineer and manufacture a solution here in Northeast Ohio that would work anywhere," Cushwa said.

The device provides work for Hattie Larlham, a nonprofit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental abilities. Hattie's Assembly employees attach a screw, lanyard and anchor pin to the polymer body's interior side and a reflective sticker to the exterior side.

For more information, visit www.doorbearacade.com; www.mentorschools.net; www.designmolded.com; and www.hattielarlham.org.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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whizzard Jun 23, 2014 11:16 PM

If an intruder enters the building and you put these in place, what is going to stop him from shooting out the window and spraying bullets in the classroom?  Do we put bullet proof glass in the doors of the classroom? 

Let's face it.  An intruder with a gun is not going to let the barricade be a deterrent to his mission.  It is going to let him know there are people in a room where he can't get into.  That is going to tick them off and most likely make them even more violent. 

Now, we can expect them to blow out the glass and possibly throw a pipe bomp in the classroom or some other explosive device.

From what I have been reading after the fact, most of these intruders were bullied at one time or another and are seeking revenge because the school did nothing about the bullying to begin with.  Then when the do something, it is usually the victim that punished as well.  Especially if they fight off their attackers.

A student in Streetsboro was being beaten by two other students in Streetsboro in a restroom with a teacher outside of the restroom.  The victim bit the attackers hand who put his hand over the victims mouth to kee the victim quiet and the school suspended the victim as well for biting his attackers hand.  Then if that wasn't enough, the school has made the vice principal who suspended the student now the principal.

Yeah, school districts are looking out for the victims alright.

Martin Fleming

wootsuppp Jun 23, 2014 9:44 PM

Would it have been so hard to tell us that the price of this device is $49.00?

redleg6 Jun 23, 2014 4:33 PM

From above: An intruder enters a school, office building or government facility, and a lockdown is declared.

How about inventing a way to keep the intruder out of the school in the first place?

nana56 Jun 23, 2014 1:08 PM

Anything that will help in the unlikely, but nonetheless possible, event of an unwanted intruder in our schools is money well spent. Anybody who reduces the substance of this article to complain about  the extra cost (which by the way school board members deciding how money is spent ARE ALSO TAXPAYERS) is a self-centered fool. Protecting our children has to be our number one priority! 

anonymous Jun 23, 2014 11:23 AM

I have my doubts about this item. There are many such items being produced today. Many are just scams to get the schools to buy them We all know that the schools spend the taxpayer's money so they really don't care about the cost. Just as long as it is the newest fad and that school can claim that they have it. That is all that matters.