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      TCAPS approves new security system to 'boot' up safety

      The number of school shootings over the years has shaped the way that districts across the country have changed their security plans. Specifically because of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Traverse City Area Public Schools has been looking into how they can keep their staff and students safer.

      On Monday night, the board of education approved a new security system called, The Boot.

      The Boot is a rectangular shaped plate of steel that can withstand 16-thousand pounds of pressure if someone tries to get in through a doorway. It was created by Michigan-based The Lockdown Co..

      Northport Public Schools was the first area district to use the system last year and by fall TCAPS will become the second.

      "Kids remain safe, staff remain safe," said Sander Scott, TCAPS Chief of Schools. "It's a great product that we are looking forward to implementing in all of our schools."

      The system will also include a blast shield mechanism that will be used on all of the main outside doors. It will delay intruders who try to shoot their way through a door that's already locked.

      School administrators say it's all about buying some time in the case of an emergency.

      "It takes a lot longer to get past that first point of entry," said Scott. "So then it provides a lot more time to get everybody locked down within the building , to keep all of the kids safe, to use then The Boot within the building to get all of the kids kind of buttoned down in their classrooms."

      "The police will be there way before any intruder is able to access the classroom past this device," said Associate Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Paul Soma.

      It will cost about $480 thousand for the system. Officials say the money will come from a $1 million unallocated contingency that they set aside for emergency programs.

      The district first heard about The Boot in May. Some people have raised concerns about how quickly they acted, but administrators say they didn't want to delay such an important safety tool.

      "We're always going to be looking for other improvements," said Soma. "There are other things that we'll be talking about over the course of the years, but for relatively inexpensive spend, the improvements that we got...the cost benefit so to speak of this, is really a no brainer."

      The Boot will be installed in every TCAPS school and support building over the summer and teachers will be getting trained on how to use it before the start of the school year.