How One Young Girl Took on the Issue of School Shootings- And May Have Invented Something that Can Save Lives
While most every mom worries about the news of school shootings, one very special teenager is actually doing something about it.
Audrey Larson calls herself an inventor and what she has created may very well make schools safer. The ninth grader will debut her invention this weekend at National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship
Expo, a wall-mounted shield designed to protect students from active shooters invading their classroom. She named her invention Safe KIDS, which she describes as “a foldable bulletproof panel designed to protect students and teachers from an active shooter.” The acronym stands for Kevlar-cellulose-nano-crystal-AR500-steel Instant Defense System.
Audrey lives with her mother, an accountant, and father, a teacher not far from Sandy Hook, the site of one of the more gruesome school shootings when Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 20 children and 6 teachers. Audrey was just eight years old at the time, but she told a reporter for The New Yorker, “I didn’t have a cell phone and I wasn’t really on the Internet. But I heard about it at school. My teacher didn’t want to scare the students. I remember her not being able to completely tell us we’d be O.K. And I remember feeling a weird energy in the room—of just, you know, fear amongst all of us, even though, at that age, I didn’t completely understand what was going on. I recognized the same feeling this year when more and more school shootings were happening.”
She continued, “It’s been going on my entire life and it hasn’t really gotten anywhere, and I don’t feel like Democrats or Republicans will ever come to a consensus. I think we can’t wait around anymore. We have to do something that looks at kids’ safety before opinions on guns.”
It was the shooting this past February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that propelled Audrey to act. “Movements had started,” she said. “I wanted to look at the problem differently, in a non-political way. That’s when the idea really sprouted. I started doing drawings.”
Her drawing eventually created the floor-to-ceiling panels that can be folded against the wall when not in use, since most classrooms don’t have much space. In the unlikely event that a shooter should enter a school, the panels could be pulled out after an alarm to offer students a bullet-proof shield.
Her invention will be displayed at this weekend’s National Invention Convention where hundreds of students from around the country, from kindergarten to the twelfth grade, present their projects designed to help change the world in some way.