Fourteen-year-old Audrey Larson was startled when she heard 17 people were shot dead inside a high school in Florida this February.
She began talking to her friends and peers about the anxiety they felt walking into a school after the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Some of my friends were having anxiety about being at school and I don’t think that’s fair to any kid,”Larson told Good Morning America on Monday.
Larson said that’s what inspired her to create a bulletproof wall for this year’s National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo, which took place in Michigan in May.
She calls the invention “Safe K.I.D.S,” which stands for Kevlar-cellulose-nanocrystal-AR500-steel Instant Defense System — the materials used to make it bulletproof.
In a video posted on YouTube in May, Larson explained the wall has a two-part system.
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The high-school student from Wallingford, Conn., created a model for a foldable wall that can be installed inside classrooms. In the event of a shooting, it can be opened up within moments, allowing students and teachers to hide behind it.
The second part is a lighting board that’s attached to the wall, Larson explained.
The board has three lights — the yellow light indicates that the system has prompted 911 to be called, the red light sounds an alarm to other classrooms warning them there is an active shooting, the green light confirms that the wall has been properly locked.
The whole purpose of the Safe K.I.D.S. wall is to make it harder for shooters to hurt children, she said.
“My invention will hopefully deter people from targeting and attacking schools, as it will make it harder for them to injure students.”
Larson is currently trying to secure a patent for her invention. which has already received several awards.
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Installing the walls in each classroom in the country may be costly, Larson said, adding that it’s well worth the investment.
“Every kid has the right to an education, but I also believe that every kid has the right to an education without the fear of getting shot,” she said in the YouTube video.
But it’s not just the Florida high-school shooting that hit close to home for the student. Her family lives less than an hour away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead in 2012.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Larson explained she felt “a weird energy” and “fear” at her school after that shooting. She was only eight years old.
“I recognized the same feeling this year when more and more school shootings were happening,” she said.
According to CNN, as of May 2018, there had been 23 school shootings in the U.S. this year where someone was either killed or injured.