Crothersville Schools install shatterproof window coating for added safety

CROTHERSVILLE, Ind. - As school districts across the state and country are discussing ways to increase safety and security, a southern Indiana school district is taking steps to make their windows shatterproof.

Crothersville Schools recently used about $59,000 in Indiana Secured School Safety Grant funding to have 3M safety and security window film installed on all exterior school windows. The coating was also installed on interior glass doors and on front office windows.

“If we had an assailant that wanted to come in and gain entry by using a gun, the bullet will come through but the person will not be able to break the glass,” said Crothersville High School Principal Adam Robinson.

The 3M coating is not designed to make a window bulletproof.  But, it will prevent a broken window from shattering apart. 

The installation was done by Columbus-based Indiana Glass Coatings.  A demonstration video on the company’s website shows a coated window stopping an attacker from breaking through a glass door even after shooting it multiple times with an assault rifle.

“This keeps these windows completely structurally intact,” said Crothersville Elementary Principal and district safety director, Drew Markel. “So these windows, if you were to bust this window, it would spider, but the window would hold.  So it essentially turns this into a solid door.”

In December, an armed 14-year old gained entry into Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond by shooting out a glass door on the building.  The teen eventually turned the gun on himself after a confrontation with police inside the school.

The 3M coating is designed to keep an armed threat outside the building long enough for police to respond to the situation.

“I mean, you see it nationwide, it’s happening in small schools, big schools,” said Chris Mains, who has three children in the Crothersville Schools system.  “So the extra added security is it’s nice.  It’s a nice feeling.”

The window coating is also meant to serve as protection in severe weather, like the 2012 Henryville tornado that shattered school windows and blew shards of shrapnel into school hallways.

“Every school worries about the active shooter, but in southern Indiana, we have a large amount of tornadoes,” Robbins said.

“In the event of a tornado like down in Henryville, this would hold the glass into the doorway, so it would not allow the glass to fly into the building,” Markel said.

As an added bonus, school officials say the window coating will block enough sunlight to save an estimated 20 percent on cooling costs during the warm months of the year.

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