Wake County charter school buys 'sense of safety' from Durham-based company

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Monday, November 19, 2018
East Wake Academy gets extra safety measure
East Wake Academy gets extra safety measure.

ZEBULON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Yet another school has purchased hardware developed by a Durham company to secure school doors when there is a campus lockdown.

The RhinoWare device attaches to the bottom of classroom doors and when activated, a metal pin drops into a steel plate on the floor securely locking the door.

"We hope we never have to use it but having it in place really gives you a sense of safety," East Wake Academy Superintendent Stephen Gay told ABC11.

The makers of RhinoWare demonstrated their product to Broward County, Florida, school officials just days before the massacre at one of their schools in Parkland on Valentine's Day.

That shooting gave a sense of urgency to officials at East Wake Academy in Zebulon.

In the end, they chose RhinoWare at a cost of $250 per door - about $10 per student.

"It's added protection. We kind of had drills anyway and so parents and students and teachers, we all kind of know what to do. But with the Rhino, it gives us added protection that we didn't have and a little more security," said East Wake Academy teacher Tammy Heuts.

Heuts is not only a teacher at the school but the mother of a student there, so safety is doubly important to her.

On Monday, she demonstrated how quickly and easily the device can be engaged and how students have already learned to respond to her command.

She said "Rhino" out loud and a student immediately went to the door and engaged the RhinoWare device.

That entire process took only five seconds.

"Added piece of mind for me as teacher and as a parent," the charter academy teacher said.

And school officials said even better, the $30,000 they spent installing the device on all of the school's 120 classroom doors will stay in the local economy where RhinoWare was developed and made.