Teachers invent a gadget to keep school shooters out

Prototypes of "The Sleeve," a device developed by Iowa educators designed to let teachers quickly secure classroom doors in case of emergencies.

Fighting Chance Solutions

Many teachers in America worry about how to protect their students in case of a school shooting. Could a two-pound piece of steel be the answer?

A group of teachers and administrators in Iowa say they have invented a way to keep classroom doors closed to any intruder. They recently unveiled their new company, Fighting Chance Solutions, and the device they call The Sleeve.

The idea behind The Sleeve is simple. Many classroom doors have a metal arm near the top, a hinge of sorts that stretches out when a door is open and folds in when the door is closed. That arm helps a door close by itself.

A teacher can slide The Sleeve over that metal arm when the door is closed. The Sleeve encases the metal elbow and keeps it from opening. The door stays shut.

The Iowa teachers say The Sleeve works for several reasons. It's portable and easy to quickly slip on. It's cheaper than having to make modifications to a door. A teacher doesn't have to go into the hallway to lock a classroom door. And no key is necessary.

The teachers spent nearly a year developing The Sleeve after getting school safety training last fall that they felt was inadequate, The Muscatine Journal reports. They turned to companies in their hometown of Muscatine, Iowa, to handle the engineering and the manufacturing of the product. A fabricator in town is able to make 1,500 of the gadgets in two weeks, the newspaper reports.

The company is charging $65 for each sleeve, and accepts bulk orders.

The Sleeve is becoming a viral hit since the teachers unveiled it earlier this month, Iowa television station WHO reports. One of the inventors, Daniel Nietzel, told the station he's flying to Los Angeles soon to discuss the product on a Hallmark Channel program.

The company just hand-delivered its first bulk order to a customer in Green Bay, Wis., according to WHO. Orders are also coming in from hospitals, the team said.

The teachers are still holding on to their school jobs and plan to return to the classroom this fall, WHO reports. But they told the station that things could change if the business succeeds.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.