Two high school students have created novel door-lock mechanisms that could help secure a school in the event of a shooting. Jordin Bell, at senior at Richland Two Institute of Innovation High School in South Carolina, and Paige Tayloe, a senior at Owensville High School in Missouri, each developed their systems as part of a nationwide STEM competition.
The two students spoke with "CBSN AM" on Tuesday, explaining their projects and why they decided to use their science and technology skills to tackle the problem of improving security in schools.
"We felt that we wanted students to live cautiously, not fearfully," Bell said. "We don't want anybody to be afraid to go to school."
Tayloe and her team developed an extra safety lock made out of aluminum alloy that can lock a classroom door from the inside even if the standard door lock fails. Bell developed an electromagnetic device that can quickly secure classroom doors and cover windows at the press of a button.
They are both finalists in Samsung's "Solve for Tomorrow" competition, which challenges students in grades 6-12 across the country to develop applications that can improve local communities by using STEM (science, technology, engineers, and math). Winning students receive nearly $50,000 for their school. Bell and Tayloe separately decided to develop technology that can help protect students from armed intruders.
"Our school has had a few threats from students and even people outside of the school," Tayloe said. "So just knowing that I think that puts more fear in the students at school."
"No student should be like, 'Mom, I'm afraid to go to school today because somebody is going to try to attack me,'" Bell said. "That's a sad thing to say."
Last year students from 94 schools in the United States experienced an armed intruder and more than 50 people lost their lives in such incidents, according to the U.S. Center for Homeland Defense and Security.