By Tim Harfmann
You won’t find your typical classroom door at Monsignor McClancy High School in East Elmhurst, Queens.
They’re bulletproof — the difference between life and death if there’s an active shooter.
“This door was able to stop a 9-millimeter, a .45, an AR-15 and a .308 round,” said Anthony Cipri, a retired NYPD detective and graduate of McClancy. He makes the doors through his company, The Discreet Defender.
The doors were installed throughout the building as a safety precaution.
“This is the safest school in the United States of America,” he added.
In 2019, there have been at least 11 shootings on high school and college campuses throughout the U.S., according to media reports.
At least six people have been killed and 25 were wounded.
Cipri says he got the idea after the Parkland, Florida massacre, where a 19-year-old former student opened fire, killing 17 people in February 2018.
“This door doesn’t exist anywhere else in the United States. This door can be installed in any school, no matter how old the school is, with little-to-no construction,” Cipri explained.
The doors are made of steel and weigh 400 pounds.
They’re fire rated. If there is a fire, students have 45 minutes to escape.
The doors are also self-locking, so anytime a student or teacher leaves the classrooms, they can’t get back in. They have to knock and wait for someone to open the door for them.
Brother Joseph Rocco, McClancy’s president, stresses there are no threats against the school.
He wants his 660 students to feel safe against gun violence.
“They’re very sensitive to that today. They’re fearful traveling to school, on trains and buses. So, when they come here they want to have that sanctuary, that safe place to be.”
Students say although McClancy has security guards and surveillance cameras, they’re relieved when they see the doors.
“I feel like there’s an added sense of security coming to school every day,” said senior Noelle Salaun.
“I know I’m safe, 100 percent,” added Salan’s classmate, Roy Cronin-Finlay
The cost of a door ranges from $3,500 to $5,000, depending on the size and how many are being ordered.
“It was a financial investment, but it’s worth every penny,” said Br. Rocco.
The school is paying the price to protect students at all costs.