Logan County schools install safety device to stop intruders

Feb 26, 2018

A Logan County school has installed a safety system to protect students and staff from intruders after various school shootings within the past year.

Ely Serna, now 18, has been accused of bringing a shotgun to West Liberty-Salem High School on Jan. 20, 2017, and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

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Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff. Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Nearby school district have since taken steps to increase security and change policies since then. Indian Lakes Schools, about 30 minutes away in Logan County, is one of them and seventh grade science and social studies teacher Jana Core was instrumental in making the changes.

She researched quite a few security measures and came up with a recommendation for a device called Nightlock. She was interested in it because it has no mechanisms, she said, it’s just drop and go.

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“A bar that has a bend in it that when you hook it on to the door, the other side hooks onto the door frame and keeps the door from opening,” she said.

The Nightlock is a piece of lightweight titanium that’s installed on the bottom of a door. It secures the door on the inside so no one on the outside can open it. She presented it to the superintendent and he was all for it but money was a problem.

“So I went and talked to Honda Transmission, which is just right down the road from us, and they gave a real sizable donation to us at first,” Core said. “Then I just went to area businesses and asked them if they would like to sponsor a classroom.”

The result was overwhelming, she said, and more than $28,000 was donated to Indian Lake schools to make the safety upgrades. The donations allowed the district to get a lock on every classroom door in the elementary, middle and high school.

The lock costs $69.95 per lock, but if a large quantity is ordered, the price goes down to $59.95. Indian Lake schools have close to 500 doors that need the locking devices, Core said.

“The whole point is just to keep the kids safe to get help here,” she added.

Indian Lake faculty, staff members and students have been trained on how to install the lock in various drills since the start of the school year. The district is in the process of ordering more to secure more doors at its various schools.