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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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JustinKase School Security Units Coming To Peshtigo

Issue Date: March 8, 2018

While many in this nation were busy worrying about today's problems with school shootings in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. killings, and others were out demonstrating for gun control laws, Justin Rivard, 17, a senior at Somerset High School, in Wisconsin but only about 35 miles east of Minneapolis, was finding a way to help solve at least part of the problem.

Each of the mass school shootings in recent years has included situations in which someone was killed trying to prevent a shooter from the room they were trying to protect. Locks on doors can be shot out, or windows can be shot and the door then can be opened easily. Rivard felt something was needed to keep shooters out of classrooms.

In his high school shop class he invented a simple, non-intrusive door jamb mechanism made of steel plates that can be put in place in just 8 seconds. It is intended to be kept by each classroom door in schools "just in case" it is needed, and for that reason he calls the device "JustinKase." That mechanism is now being manufactured by a firm in Rivard's hometown and is being marketed to Wisconsin schools for less than $100 per unit.

Thanks to the efforts of two Peshtigo grandmothers, Bev Doucette and Kathy Crabtree, each classroom door at the Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center and Peshtigo Middle/High School will be protected by one of these units before the current school year ends, at no cost to the district. Doucette said they can sit in plain view to be where they are needed, "because they are not big and intrusive, and not scary."

Doucette said she and Crabtree, both of whom have grandchildren attending school in Peshtigo, had been growing increasingly concerned about school safety issues and organized "Grandparents For Action" to try to do whatever they could to help. "We will be happy to take the lead in making mass shootings harder to accomplish in our schools," Doucette said. "We are not waiting to make a difference, we will be the difference!"

Then Doucette saw a news report about the JustinKase mechanism and was excited about the possibilities. She contacted Rivard, learned the device is already in use in one or two school districts in Wisconsin, and asked him if he would bring information on the device to Peshtigo. Plans were made for him to meet with local school officials and others in this area on Friday, March 3.

Doucette and Crabtree contacted all the surrounding public school districts, and plans were made for presentations at Peshtigo High School at 9 a.m. on Friday, Monday, March 3, and 10:30 a.m. at George Webb Truck Stop. Eugene Frank, who owns the truck stop, has joined Grandparents for Action, Doucette said.

Rivard gave a presentation on the JustinKase at the Peshtigo School at 9 a.m. at Peshtigo High School with Peshtigo High School Principal and several other area school officials for a walk-through demonstration of the JustinKase device device. Then, at 10:30 a.m., he met with TV crews and other media personnel and school representatives at the George Web Truck Stop.

Doucette said they are collecting donations for Grandparents in Action to be put in their account at N.E.W. Credit Union in Peshtigo and have already raised enough money from various citizens to bring the devices to the two Peshtigo public schools. They cost less than $97 each plus $15 each for shopping, but Frank has agreed to pick up the units from the manufacturer in Somerset and deliver them to Peshtigo. Maintenance personnel at the Peshtigo schools are measuring the doors, and those for the elementary Learning center will need to be made on a special size, according to Doucette.

She said Oconto Falls has ordered one of the JustinKase units, and more orders will follow. There also is an "Alice," program in which speakers come to schools to teach students from fourth grade up how to react if there is a shooter in the building, and they would like to bring this program to Peshtigo.

"This is the day and age of some pretty nasty stuff out there." Doucette said. She praised Chad Sodini for being willing to look at everything possible to keep kids safe, and concluded, "I would rather over react 100 times than have to stand at the funeral of one kid!"


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