RE­FLECT­ING ON SAFETY

Win­dow tint­ing in­stalled at schools as safety mea­sure

The Oklahoman - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID DISHMAN Busi­ness Writer ddish­man@ok­la­homan.com

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.”

[PHO­TOS BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

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.

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