Grant helps Crothersville make school safer


In recent years, Indiana has taken school security to the next level to establish the state as a national standard when it comes to protecting children.

The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Fund was created in 2013 to support initiatives to ensure schools are safe and secure, according to Funding provides matching grants to school corporations to employ a school resource officer, conduct a threat assessment and/or purchase equipment to restrict access to the school or expedite the notification of first responders.

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In March 2018, Gov. Eric Holcomb requested an additional $5 million be allocated to the fund to support safety initiatives.

Crothersville Community School Corp. was among the 2018 grant recipients, and the funding was used to hire a company to put 3M safety and security window film on all exterior windows in the elementary and junior-senior high schools, which are in the same building. The film also was placed on windows in the principals’ offices.

Indiana Glass Coatings of Columbus did the work for $59,295.

With school shootings happening around the country, junior-senior high school Principal Adam Robinson and elementary Principal Drew Markel sat down together to talk about what could be done to ensure safety.

They found the 3M window film has several benefits.

For one, it helps protect people from flying glass shards, one of the most common causes of blast-related injuries and fatalities. It mitigates hazards from shattered glass due to natural and human causes.

“We got it for the sake of school shootings and keeping people out that want to do that,” Robinson said. “It will let the bullet come through, it will shatter the glass, but the perp can’t come in, so it secludes them to the outside.”

A video he watched shows a man with an AK-47 shooting into a window, and it took nearly 3 minutes for him to get to the point where he could go through the window.

“In a situation like that, it’s just time,” Robinson said. “We’re trying to get enough time to keep (the perp) out and keep the cops on their way and let them do their job.”

The window film also provides protection to people and property from flying glass in wind storms and seismic activity.

When a tornado hit the Henryville school building March 2, 2012, security camera footage showed glass and debris going through the hallways and rooms.

Fortunately, no one was in the building at the time.

“We have tornadoes in Indiana basically any time of the year,” Robinson said. “I think what they learned from Henryville is your hallways become death traps. Nobody got hurt in the Henryville one, but the video footage was no mistake.”

Robinson said if a tornado hit the Crothersville school building, the window film would protect property and people from shrapnel.

“It won’t let the window come out and turn the hallways into shrapnel. It will spiderweb the whole window. It will hold it in place,” he said. “It will allow them to shatter, but it will not send glass throughout my building.”

Another benefit of the window film is that it helps extend the life of furnishings by significantly reducing harmful ultraviolet rays, the largest cause of fading, according to 3M.

Robinson also learned it will help save on the corporation’s electricity bill for the building. He said the main hallway in the junior-senior high school used to be very cold because of the large windows, but that changed when the film and seal were applied.

“It is now a lot better blocking out the elements,” he said. “It defers a lot of the light.”

Tiger decals also now cover the windows and doors at the main entrances to the school building. They look nice and also provide safety because visibility is limited from the outside looking in, Robinson said.

The window film is the most recent safety measure Crothersville has taken.

About 10 years ago, buzz-in systems were added to the main entrances to the elementary and junior-senior high schools. Then last year, staff members received identification cards to open exterior doors.

Staff and students also practice lockdown, tornado and fire drills every year.

Plus, evacuation routes are discussed, and local police and fire departments are given a copy of the school corporation’s security procedures to evaluate and provide feedback.

“Basically, what Drew and I do is just mainly try to look at anything that could affect our school and try to be as proactive as possible,” Robinson said. “If you can stop something before it happens, it’s the golden ticket.”