wsls logo

Martinsville schools first in Virginia to install window shutter system to protect students

The shutter system is constructed of 10-gauge steel

School officials in Martinsville say students are a little safer this year thanks to a simple yet effective new tool in classrooms.
School officials in Martinsville say students are a little safer this year thanks to a simple yet effective new tool in classrooms.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Martinsville City Public School officials say students are a little safer this year thanks to a simple yet effective new tool in classrooms.

The window in a typical classroom door presents a vulnerability in that a hostile intruder could break out the glass of the window and attempt to gain access to the room or extend a weapon into the room.

The school system addressed this vulnerability with the implementation of the Window Armor shutter system, developed by Ken Ratliff, a retired school superintendent in Ohio. The shutter system is constructed of 10-gauge steel and greatly improves the security of the door and the safety of the occupants. Deployed in a lockdown, the shutter slides effortlessly over the window and automatically locks into place.

“A classroom door that is shut and locked is pretty secure. We kept going back to the window being a weak spot on the doors,” explained Director of School Safety T.J. Slaughter. “Once we came across window armor, I knew it was something I wanted to keep our students and staff safe in the event of an active shooter or an emergency situation.”

“I love how simple and effective this is,” said Martinsville High School Resource Officer Shane McPeek. “What’s great is that teachers or a student can deploy the shutter quickly during lockdown drills and in an active shooter situation.”

Research shows that the safest place to be in an armed assailant-type situation is inside a locked room. As with any active assailant strategy, lockdowns are an important component of an options-based plan. It’s highly likely many students and staff will be “locked down” in classrooms. Thus, it’s vitally important for classroom doors to be secure and keep the intruder out.

Martinsville schools recently installed a gunshot detection system and panic alarms as measures to keep students and staff safe as well.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.