REFLECTING ON SAFETY
Window tinting installed at schools as safety measure
An auto-tinting business in Oklahoma City is providing local schools an innovative security measure for their buildings.
Reflective window tinting has been installed at more than a dozen schools in the Moore Public Schools district after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. The tinting is similar to a one-way mirror, allowing those inside to see out without allowing others to see in, something Moore Police Department Staff Sgt. David Dickinson thought could make a difference for safety.
“That (Sandy Hook) really changed the way folks did business,” Dickinson said. “When I started working at Highland East Junior High (in Moore) a few years ago, I started looking at ‘What can I do at my school?’ And that kind of started the real emphasis on the window tinting.”
If a potential shooter can’t see people inside, it could provide teachers and administrators valuable seconds to get children to safety, Dickinson reasoned. He approached the school principal with the idea and
was ultimately connected with Greg Goodman.
Goodman’s business, Alta Mere at 11700 S Western Ave., specializes in auto tinting, but has expanded into structural window tinting in homes and businesses. He was asked by Dickinson if it would be possible to install a functional tint for Dickinson’s desired purposes, which wasn’t as simple as expected.
“We knew we could probably accomplish what we
wanted to do on the exterior windows because it’s always brighter outside and darker inside even if you have the lights on,” Goodman said. “It was the classroom windows and any of the media rooms and office windows that look into the building — those were the ones that were a challenge.”
A new kind of film had just been released on the market, however, and Goodman tried it on a few of the windows at Highland East. It worked exactly as desired, and word spread.
“After we did Highland East, and Officer Dickinson saw it, word started getting around what they had done and other schools were interested too ,” Goodman said.
‘I think it’s worth it to try’
Kristin Kuepker, who was the principal at Bryant Elementary at the time, loved the idea.
“Anything you can do to give yourself a little bit more time if you were to need it in the event of an emergency, I think it’s worth it to try,” Kuepker said.
Alta Mere doesn’t donate the film or the installation, but does offer
it to schools at a discount, Goodman said. Costs differ per school, depending on how many square feet of window space is on the campus. Kuepker estimated it cost Bryant Elementary $10,000 for complete installation, and it was done during spring break.
Kuepker later became principal at Timber Creek Elementary after her time at Bryant. She asked her Parent Teacher Association to help raise funds for installation at the new school.
Alta Mere has installed the tint at 17 locations and
has been contacted by others to do more work.
“I feel it’s the least we can do,” Goodman said. “I believe every school in the United States should be as safe and secure as it can possibly be.”
Dickinson is also pleased with the work that has been done. No one involved in the process says it’s a total solution, but it helps.
“This is a piece of the pie,” Dickinson said. “It’s not the whole answer to prevent violence and make the school safer, but it’s definitely part of the pie, and an important part.”
Matt Archer installs tinted security film to classroom windows Monday at the Moore School District’s Fairview Elementary School.
Matt Archer works in a classroom at Fairview Elementary to install security film to windows Monday.