Since Sandy Hook, there have been 74 school shootings in the United States. And even if there are some heated claims from extreme gun-rights activists about what, exactly, constitutes a school shooting, the idea has become a very real fear that today’s teachers have to reckon with.
It is why there is a market for jarring products like “bulletproof blankets.” And it is why a new anti-gunman product developed by a schoolteacher is quickly gaining attention.
That new product is called the Sleeve. Daniel Nietzel, an elementary school teacher in Iowa, conceived of the idea and it was launched on June 10 by his company, Fighting Chance Solutions. The Sleeve is made of steel, and what it basically does is it encases the arm joints of doors from the inside, so that you don’t have to go out into the hallway to lock the classroom.
At $65, it is significantly cheaper than the cost of replacing a door entirely. “There’s not a teacher that goes to work every day that doesn’t somewhere in the back of their mind think that could be a possibility,” Nietzel tells Quartz in a new interview. “When a locker slams in the doorway at a time of day that it shouldn’t, you go like, was that a gun shot?”
That fear-based approach can certainly produce some awkward moments. On Fight Chance Solutions’ website, for instance, is a well-meaning but unfortunate-sounding “gift certificate” section. But the product itself could buy teachers time, and could make it easier to, say, shepherd students out a window to safety.