MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — The nation watched surveillance footage from The Covenant School in horror last week as an armed intruder shot through the glass doors and entered the building, killing six people.
The mass shooting in Nashville has since sparked several conversations about school security, leading the Rutherford County School District to close school on Monday while teachers and school resource officers reviewed their procedures.
Other school systems like Tullahoma City Schools have been adding police officers to buildings; and some schools, daycares and even churches are now turning toward another layer of protection — a security film often used to thwart burglars.
Ricky Love, owner of Love’s Window Tint in Murfreesboro, said he has given quotes to around 20 private and public schools — some as far as Alabama — that have called to inquire about LLumar Security Film within the last few days.
“It’s been around for a while like in places like Texas, where these incidents have happened. That’s something they’ve already done the research on and installed at a majority of the schools,” Love said. “With this happening here, it’s hit home.”
The heavy-duty polyester film bonds to glass with strong adhesives, and while not completely bullet proof, Love said it provides defense against break-ins, vandalism and severe weather.
It can be cut to fit any size window or glass surface and the adhesive prevents people from pushing through the film, even once the glass is shattered by an AR-15 style rifle.
“It will definitely allow you some time to make that phone call or find shelter,” Love said. “Eventually if they try and try, they could maybe be able to come through, but at the same time, every second counts.”
Those seconds are extremely vital in active shooter situations, said Barry Clapp, who owns Graphic Effects next door to Love’s Window Tint.
Clapp said the film could give first responders anywhere from an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get to the scene.
At The Covenant School in Nashville, 14 minutes passed between when the suspect entered the building and when officers stopped the shooting.
“If it had taken her 10 or 15 minutes to do that, she might have given up or the cops might have gotten there before she got in,” Clapp said. “She would have still been kicking at that front door if this film would have been on that door.”
Love said he has been installing the film on homes for several years, but it wasn’t until he posted about it on Facebook on March 29 that many people had even heard of security film. In addition to schools, he’s recently received calls from churches, daycares and a women’s shelter in Smyrna.
“You think about that kind of film, and you think a bank is all that would need that,” Clapp said. “Somebody coming in and trying to rob the bank, but that’s not what it’s all about anymore.”
The price of the security film, which typically costs a few dollars per square foot, varies based on the layout of the window frames and other structural factors.
However, Love said he has been working with schools to prevent cost from becoming a deterrent. In some cases, parents have offered to cover the cost for schools where the funds may not be in the budget.
“This morning I actually had a parent call and say that they would pay for it if nobody else did,” Love said. “So, I told them I would definitely work with them and make it right.”
In an interview Monday, James Evans, Communications Director for Rutherford County Schools, said the school district has not yet decided whether to install bulletproof glass or security film, but that it might be considered with state funding.
Gov. Bill Lee recently announced a new $140 million budget amendment for school security, including funds dedicated to “significant physical security upgrades” at public and private schools in Tennessee.
“It should be in every school. It should be in every hospital emergency room. It should be in every daycare,” Clapp said. “There’s not a place it shouldn’t be in this day and time.”