DENVER -- It's been nearly 20 years since the Columbine High School massacre shook our state, forever changing a child's place of learning. But the most recent school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, inspired two local Colorado businessmen to spring into action now instead of waiting for new laws or training, in order to protect students in classrooms across the U.S.
Denver7 took a look their simple device, SwiftShield, on Thursday. The purpose of the device is to reduce the time it takes to barricade a door, keeping a potential active shooter from getting inside a classroom.
The device — created by Eric Smith and Matt Behrens — is made of carbon fiber that slides and fits over a doorknob locking the door and preventing it from being opened on the outside.
"In the case of Santa Fe, Christian Riley (Garcia), he actually used his body, he held the door shut. This would have taken the place of Christian in that situation," said Smith.
A piece of metal is all it might take to buy more time and that’s why they think SwiftShield could save lives. Many classroom doors open outwardly and have to be locked from the outside, possibly exposing teachers or students to danger outside of the classroom.
"Even if a door is locked it doesn't take much in the way of shooting a lock to get through that. This buys time for students and faculty. We see that added layer of protection like a fire extinguisher would be in the event of a fire," said Smith.
The company came up with an initiative called Shield Our Schools: a way for corporate sponsors and small businesses to help donate to a school that wants the SwiftShields, but budget restraints or policies might not allow for it.
"It gives businesses to help and do something now while everyone is arguing about preventative measures, this is something they can do now."
It's not being used in Colorado schools yet, but SwiftShield hopes more seed money will help get these into local schools soon.