Idaho Teachers Arm Their Classrooms Without Guns

Posted at 3:19 PM, May 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-06 17:19:58-04

This year, the United States has averaged one school shooting every week. Some Treasure Valley teachers are not waiting to be the next victims.

Charlie Bidondo says he feels safe as a science teacher at Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian, but he's not taking any chances. “The stuff that's happening in the world, you and I can't control it, so let's be prepared,” he says. Bidondo invented a simple, cheap and easy way to keep classrooms secure during a lockdown. It’s a two-piece, single weld steel lock that takes just seconds to put in place. The idea sparked from a conversation with his wife who's a teacher at Sawtooth Middle School in the West Ada District. “She has desks, and you are supposed to pile the desks up in front of the door. Well, you've got these sixth graders who are only about so tall. You pile the desks to high, and they become unstable. So she said is there anything we can do. So I went over and looked at her door. Yeah, I think I can make something. And so I had some scrap steel at the house. So I measured across the door frame, measured the width of the door and low and behold it worked really well."

Bidondo created a prototype and a video tutorial. School administrators liked the idea and decided to arm all the classroom doors at both Rocky and Sawtooth with the homemade device. Bidondo made the two hundred locks himself, for about three bucks a piece.

These aren’t the only schools in the Valley to have specialty classroom door locks. In Kuna, teachers at Silver Trail Elementary took to the internet site Donors Choose to ask people to buy door lock bars for their 33 classrooms. The $700 project was funded in less than a week. Teachers say they're thrilled with how easy the bars are to set up and they didn't budge when tested. One teacher wrote to thank the donors saying, "just knowing how difficult it was for people to try and get in made us all take a big sigh of relief."