A partnership between the Greene County Public Safety Foundation and Greene County Public Schools has resulted in the installation of custom-made security blinds for all schools in the division.
The blinds, which school officials showed off last week at Nathanael Greene Elementary School in Stanardsville, were installed on classroom doors and windows to block visual access to classrooms from hallways — especially in the case of an emergency.
“The old method was terrible,” said Greene County Schools Assistant Superintendent Bryan Huber. “What we used to have was, you’d take black construction paper and roll it up. But it’s paper, so it doesn’t fall. ... So then you had to end up taping it down or putting weights in it, and then it gets tore up.”
Plus, the old system wasn’t exactly kid-proof, said NGES Principal Adam Midock.
Now, every classroom in every public school throughout Greene County can black out their inside windows.
“We have one in each room,” Midock said. “We have 21 classrooms [at NGES], but then they’re also in every ancillary classroom as well that kids could be working in. Each classroom that kids are in, one of these is on there.”
The project was funded in large part to an approximately $6,800 donation from the Public Safety Foundation, whose mission is to work in partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, courts system, schools and other community groups to fund programs that will enhance public safety and community well-being for all in Greene County.
The new security blinds will greatly assist school staff in the event of an emergency security system at a school facility, officials said. The simple yet effective design allows quick deployment of the blinds and ease of storage.
“The nice thing is that every school has different-size windows, different configurations and so on,” Huber said. “All we had to do is measure them and send them to the company and they custom-made all of them.
“Now every classroom in the division has the same set-up,” he said.
The new blinds – along with the simple use of magnets in doorjambs – are just some of the ways Greene County Schools are using creative ways to provide an extra level of security.
The magnets allow classroom doors, which are kept in a locked position, to remain slightly ajar for student access. “In the event of an emergency, we pull that black-out sheet down,” Midock said. “All our teachers need to do at this point is essentially take the magnet and put it [to the side] and close the door, and they’re now completely locked in the classroom.
“They don’t have to worry about fumbling with keys, they don’t have to worry about picking the wrong key,” he said. “It’s quick.”
The Greene County Public Safety Foundation agreed to fund the project after a request from Greene County Schools highlighted the need for the blinds in the schools.
Completely funded from volunteer efforts and other fundraisers, such as next week’s Maj. Russell Lane Memorial Golf Tournament, Public Safety Foundation officials noted that projects such as funding the school safety blind help the schools and other community groups without the use of taxpayers’ dollars.
“We very much appreciate the work of the Public Safety Foundation in trying to do these things that would otherwise cost us quite a bit of money,” Greene County Schools Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh said.
To make a donation to the Greene County Public Safety Foundation to help fund future projects, visit their website at www.psfgc.org.