Valley Vista High School promised $50,000 for remote locking system

Students, teachers and staff at Valley Vista High School will be better equipped to survive a shooting on campus with a $50,000 donation from the chairman of ROK Mobile announced Tuesday.

The donation from John Paul DeJoria will fund remotely controlled locks on classroom and office doors that can lockdown a room with the push of a button from as far as 75 feet away. DeJoria and ROK Mobile have partnered with Safer Schools for America to improved safety in light of school shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

“We’re here to fight the fight against school shootings,” said Ron Triebels, CEO of Safer Schools for America.

Pat Stellhorn, director of maintenance, operations and transportation for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, said he was approached by Triebels about a year ago. Initially district officials said they weren’t interested in working with Safer Schools for America to update school security but changed their minds when they heard from students and teachers who wanted to feel safer on campus.

Kerry Clitheroe is principal of Valley Vista High, a continuation high school with more than 300 students who are juniors or seniors. As a former teacher, Clitheroe liked the idea of being able to lock door with the push of a button from anywhere in the classroom.

“I think it helps to put the teachers in charge of their room and give them a sense of security,” she said.

Sean Karol, a Valley Vista High senior from Huntington Beach, said school shootings can happen at anytime and anywhere and looks forward to his school having an extra layer of security.

“I’m glad that there’s other people who see the problem and know that something has to be done,” he said.

The new locks will be installed in 30 to 45 days, Stellhorn said.

Safer Schools for America also wants to provide Valley Vista High with bullet-resistant shields made of durable fiberglass that can be affixed to doors. When tested, the shields were not penetrated by 9 mm, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and 12-gauge pellets and slugs, Triebels said.

John R. Peterson Elementary in Huntington Beach is already set to get these shields, but funding is needed to install them at Valley Vista High.