United Way awards grants for school door locks

St. Joseph County United Way and matching local donors recently awarded a special grant to four local schools for the purchase of Nightlocks.

Nightlock is a classroom-door-lockdown mechanism that allows a teacher to immediately lock the door from inside the classroom. It is fast, easy and withstands 1,500 pounds of force.

On a conventional classroom door, an intruder can break a window, reach in and gain access to the door knob lever to open the door. With Nightlock in place at the ground level, it is out of reach.

Kelly Hostetler, executive director of St. Joseph County United Way, said the agency has wanted to do something proactive to help to protect kids and teachers.

Hostetler said the impetus came from Colon Township Library Director Julie Censke, and Mark Brinkert, Colon Police chief. They asked if United Way would consider matching half of the money needed to install Nightlocks in the Colon Community Schools.

A presentation subsequently was made to the United Way Board of Directors and to all St. Joseph County School superintendents. In addition to Colon, school officials in Burr Oak, Constantine and Centreville also requested help from United Way.

Close to 200 locks have been purchased and are currently being installed.

Glen Oaks Community College, St. Joseph County ISD and the Sturgis Public Schools are already using the Nightlock system.

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