High school team designs safety device for classroom

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — High school students in Charlotte are unveiling a new safety design that they've been working on for area schools since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students in February.

The students at Olympic High in Steele Creek think their design could keep classrooms secure by creating metal barricades to keep doors shut.

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"Our end goal is to keep students safe," junior Emmanuel Brown said.

Brown is part of the team that designed the barricade.

He and his classmates created it after they learned a student in Parkland was shot five times while holding a classroom door shut with his body.

"It would definitely slow down anyone trying to get inside the classroom," teacher Matthew Wykoff said.

Wykoff is the teacher who helped the students design the barricade.

There are similar safety machines on the market already, but the team’s design is unique.

"Students are in the classroom,” Brown said. “They understand what's going on, so I think the main idea is that when we create ideas, we think of ways that it cannot only protect us, but make us feel comfortable."

When the students leave their engineering classes to create the barricades, they use a $300,000 machine shop that's one of a few of its kind in the entire country.

Fortune 100 company Bosch Rexroth provided the high-tech and high-dollar equipment for the teens, making it possible for them to develop things that can't be produced at other schools in the country.

The barricade is selling for $75.

"We tried to use materials that are affordable, and we try to keep our creation simple," Brown said.

The students only have a few more weeks until school is out for the summer and until then, they will keep studying and researching improvements for the barricades because they hope Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials will install them in schools throughout the county.