Bountiful father works with Utah lawmaker in effort to enhance security at schools

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SALT LAKE CITY - A Bountiful father’s idea to help keep shooters out of school classrooms is just one step away from becoming law.

“It’s just happening far too often in too many places,” said Cameron Hellewell of school shootings. “I think it’s time we find a way to make it safer.”

Hellewell came up with the idea of a barrier lock after doing some research online. There’s a handful of different designs, but one of the popular ones involves a mechanism being placed on the bottom of the door with a bolt extending downward into the ground, securing the device.

“I approached the Superintendent and asked him what I needed to do to have them install safety devices,” Hellewell said.

After being referred to the police department and fire department for safety issues, he was surprised to learn that legislation passed in 2012 prevented the locks from being installed, due to safety and fire code reasons.

“So, he came to me, and I was like what?” said Utah Senator Todd Weiler, a Republican who represents District 23.

Sen. Weiler decided to help sponsor a Senate Bill that would lift those restrictions and allow individual school districts to make up their own minds.

“If you can imagine sitting in a classroom and hearing a shooter coming down the hall going classroom to classroom, not knowing what to do,” starts the Senator. “But if you’re teacher, you could barricade that door so it would be difficult if not impossible for the shooter to get in. I think that would save lives.”

The Senate and the House thought so too, the bill passed through both and now sits on the Governor’s desk for his final signature. Hellewell said that if it passes, he plans on paying for the thirty-some locks at $100 a piece that his daughter’s school can put in place.