Independent Recorder ▷
TONGANOXIE, Kan. — A small piece of fabric kept near a classroom door could help protect students in the event of an active shooter.
It was three months ago that kindergarten teacher Tiffany Parker was sitting on her living room floor cutting up a fire hose.
“One fire hose makes about 100-110 sections, and I had three hoses donated,” said Parker, who teaches at Tonganoxie Elementary School.
Parker used to be the volleyball coach at Tonganoxie High School. She would use old fire hoses to line her practice drills. Now, the fire hose is keeping her classroom safe and secure when it’s not just a drill.
“We’ve always done the typical, you know, cover your window, lock your door, move away, but that never seemed to give us enough security,” said Parker.
On February 14, 2018, 17 students were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“You know, seeing my kids’ faces when they were first told, ‘OK, if somebody comes in, here’s what we’re going to do,’ before I had the Safety Sleeve, and they were still a little fearful,” said Parker.
Now, in her classroom of 21 students, Parker keeps the 6-inch piece of fire hose hanging by a magnet near the top of her classroom door. In a matter of seconds, the “Safety Sleeve” can be in place.
“All you do with it is you place it over the door hanger arm, as far as it will go and then they can’t get in the door, it won’t open,” said Parker.
The day after the Parkland shooting, Parker brought the Safety Sleeve into her classroom at Tonganoxie Elementary School. After showing her students how it works, Parker said her students felt more secure.
“There was such a sense of relief and a sense of security by my kids and a sense of, ‘OK, this isn’t going to be it,'” said Parker.
Parker presented the DIY device to her school principal. Now, she’s made hundreds of them for the entire Tonganoxie School District. While she’s created a low-cost safety device, Parker said she has no plans to make any money off of the Safety Sleeve.
“So many people have asked me, ‘Are you going to patent it? You should sell it.’ I am not looking to make a dime on kids’ lives,” said Parker.
California, Ohio, and South Dakota have already picked up on the idea. Parker said school districts and fire departments have reached out to her to get the Safety Sleeve idea going in their own communities.