Like everyone else, Rian True was saddened by watching news coverage of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 21 people. But True, a local business owner is now doing his part to help prevent tragedies like that in the future.
He owns and operates two local businesses: Carolina CoverTech, a manufacturing facility in North Augusta, and School Safety Solution, a company that sells and ships a variety of products designed to keep students and employees safe in schools throughout the U.S.
One of the products his company manufactures is the Hideaway Helper, an easy-to-install lockdown shade that teachers can use to cover classroom windows for active shooter drills and school shootings. Besides locking doors, the shade is another way to deter shooters from entering classrooms.
“It provides 100 percent blackout,” True said. “It’s something a teacher can do really quickly in a time of fearfulness.”
In 2018, after the Parkland, Florida shooting, School Safety Solution asked Carolina CoverTech to begin manufacturing the product. In 2020, he bought the company.
“The opportunity came along to make a difference,” True said. He also recognized the need for new solutions to the school violence epidemic. According to an article from Education Week, there have been 27 school shootings in 2022 that have killed or injured 83 people.
More than 120,000 shades have been installed in about 2,500 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. One Columbia County school has received the device so far.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Superintendent Dr. Steven Flynt. “We utilize a wide variety of proactive and preventive measures across the district as needed, to keep our students and staff safe.”
The Hideaway Helper comes in a variety of custom sizes, and most range in price from $14 to $20. They’re primarily used for internal classroom windows.
“Sometimes it’s the easiest thing schools can do if they have budgetary concerns,” True said.
He said he’s received numerous thank-you letters, but so far, a school hasn’t notified him the shade helped in an active hooter situation.
“It will at some point,” True said.
While most of the devices are sold to K-12 school systems, they’ve also been used in companies, colleges, and government buildings.
Besides the Hideaway Helper, he said School Safety Solution sells about 100 products, such as door locks and first aid kits.
“We’ll continue to add more,” True said. “Hopefully, we’ll develop more solutions.”
Customers can order a free sample of the shade. For more information, visit schoolsafetysolution.com or call 888-733-0406.