Iredell Co. school first in state to install locks to stop active shooters

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — One second is how long it takes to put a new lock in place at Central Elementary School in Iredell County in the event of an active shooter. It's a pilot program the school could expand.

It costs $10,000 to install locks on 56 doors at the school and Stacy Campbell and her Parent Teacher Organization raised that money in two weeks. That's the kind of passion there is to keep children at the school safe.

"One of the hardest parts as a mother is dropping your children off at school," Campbell said.

The RhinoWare Door Barricade, the type of lock being installed at the school, can be lifted by hand or by foot, then dropped into place, locking the door.

Sheriff Darren Campbell, who is Stacy's husband, said 30 seconds is enough time to save countless lives in an active shooter situation.

"Most of your active shooters, upwards of 80 percent, are over in less than two minutes," Darren Campbell said.

On Tuesday, a gunman tried to force his way into a California elementary school, but thankfully, the school's lockdown plan saved hundreds of students’ lives.

Central Elementary wanted to take security plans a step further -- especially after a scare in 2015. A woman shot her estranged husband at the school as they were picking up their son.

Sheriff Campbell said he remembers the call.

"It was obviously extremely unnerving to hear that call come out of a shooting on the grounds of an elementary school," the sheriff said.

The Parent Teacher Organization started raising money for locks this year, then the entire community -- including local businesses, parents and even retired teachers -- decided to pitch in.

"When we talk about our children and we talk about meeting their basic need of feeling safe, I don't think that there's ever a price tag that you can put on that," Stacey Campbell said.

Unless parents raise more money for other schools, the district would have to come up with the funds to put RhinoWare locks in buildings district-wide.

No decision has been made by officials on whether to expand the program.

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