Wisconsin student creates device in effort to prevent deaths in school shootings
In the wake of the Florida school shooting, a Wisconsin teen is hoping a device he invented last year will get into more classrooms to help prevent further tragedies.
Justin Rivard, 17, a senior at Somerset High School, created the “Justin Kase” during his junior year in his metals class. He told Global News it was part of ALICE training for an active shooting situation in which during his homeroom class, they barricaded their door with “whatever [they] have.”
ALICE stands for “alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate” — a system kids are taught to follow in shooting situations.
“We had these really big, heavy tables that we would slide in front of the door and they just didn’t cut it,” Rivard said. “That kind of worried me, being a student in that classroom and not knowing whether something was going to happen or not. After that, I just kind of thought, this would be something I could help with.”
From there, Rivard used his knowledge of welding to create a device that could keep people from entering a classroom because he felt in other situations, a shooter could still shoot out the lock to gain entry. The building process was not easy at first and took several tries to find the right design.
“I put myself in … a situation saying, ‘OK, what am I going to do to keep myself and my friends safe when a shooter comes in?’ I just thought, this is something I just have to keep going after.”
Once he made a prototype in April 2017 and he brought it to teachers around his school, demonstrating how it worked and asking them what they thought.
Rivard said he chose to make the device go under the door because it was the “only open spot on the door.” When putting the device under the door, it can then be spread out to wrap around each door frame and is locked in place using a nut and bolt.
Shortly after, he got a one-year provisional patent for the device.
Before the school year ended in June 2017, Rivard said he attended a board meeting to show the product, and his business took off.
The board ordered the “Justin Kase” for his high school, then a few weeks later they ordered more than 110 for the middle and elementary schools. A school district north of Rivard had also ordered more than 100 as of Tuesday, Rivard said, but he told Global News that he has received interest from across the U.S., including a close family friend of one of the Florida school shooting victims.
“It’s been all over the country. I mean, there’s been people from Florida, there’s been people from New York, there’s been people from California. Every email is different,” he said.
He is also now working on another model that will work on doors that open outwards.
Rivard’s isn’t the first device created, though, in response to school shootings, with teens and adults crafting ideas across the U.S.
Students at a Washington D.C., school created a device to clasp around the hydraulic arms at the top of many doors in schools, while in Iowa teachers designed a carbon-steel case that also could be attached to a door’s hydraulic arm. As Quartz reports, some students are even being equipped with rudimentary tools, like rubber door stoppers, as a way to prevent a shooter from entering a classroom.
Asked what he wants to come from his device’s creation, Rivard said he wants his device to go further than his state. After the Florida school shooting in which 17 people died, that hope has grown.
“I think it wouldn’t be much to have these in every class in the country,” he said. “I take a lot of things to heart and knowing that I could’ve helped somebody and, you know, if they were in my position they would’ve done the same thing, it’s not a very good feeling knowing that I didn’t save somebody that I could.
“I could have saved them.”
The “Justin Kase” can be bought on Rivard’s website http://dominatesafety.com/ and is selling for US$95.
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