Michigan made product aims to keep students safe in the classroom

‘They developed a rather easy device that saves lives and hearing that testimony again from Oxford, it was a no-brainer’

Nightlock, a security device provider in mid-Michigan, has been very busy this summer.

TROY, Mich. – Seen in the video player above is a Nightlock, which is a security tool, and it makes a door almost impossible to open.

They are made here in Michigan in Mount Morris, just 30 miles from Oxford High School, where tragedy struck back in November.

Since the Oxford High School mass shooting, Nightlock has gained 1,167 new customers as they’ve worked with 151 districts in Michigan while also installing over 1,400 locks in Troy.

“Right after the Uvalde shooting, June picked up, and it’s been nonstop,” said Nightlock Director of Sales Chris Ahearn.

This summer has been the busiest on record for Nightlock, a security device provider in mid-Michigan.

“You take a phone call, and you have five emails while you’re on the phone,” Ahearn said. “And it’s been like that. It started in December with Oxford, and it really hasn’t let up since.”

A quarter of Nightlock annual sales were shipped just in June, and the owners believe the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Oxford and school districts wanting to prepare for the upcoming school year contributed to the dramatic increase in sales.

“These four skids sitting here are going to West Virginia, one is going to Dallas, and the other to Pennsylvania,” said Nightlock Co-Owner Jack Taylor.

Based in Mount Morris, Nightlock is less than an hour away from Oxford High School, which had the devices in place.

“Knowing that our door barricades were on those doors and watching those kids in those classrooms, It just felt good that our door locks were protecting kids,” Taylor said.

“There’s no degree of separation in Oakland County from that tragedy,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick West of Troy School District. “Somebody knew somebody that was in the building, and we knew other fellow administrators over there, and undoubtedly the first thing they told us was, ‘thank God for Nightlock, it saved lives.’”

Within days, West said he ordered more than 1,600 locks.

“It’s a sad reality,” West said. “So as school administrators, our job is to provide solutions for the realities that we face.”

Classroom and office doors adjacent to hallways were identified as vulnerabilities.

Since the Oxford High School mass shooting, 150 school districts across the country and state have ordered security devices from Nightlock.

The mid-Michigan company is now rolling out new safety products.

“During an active shooter event, the protocol says to lock the door, turn out the lights, cover the window,” Taylor said. “So we have blackout shades that we patented. And we started to sell them about a year and a half ago. And they’re really popular.”

They’ve also created an early alert notification system so that teachers, administrators, and law enforcement are immediately notified when a security lock is activated.

“You have to stay on the cutting edge of things for security purposes,” Ahearn said. “I mean, the threats are getting faster, closer together. If you’re not evolving and creating new products, then you’re putting these people at risk, and you’re not doing your best to protect them.”

“You got to keep trying, and you got to keep pushing forward and try your best to have the best solutions that you can,” said Nightlock employee Maureen Castle. “Every lock helps.”

Castle is an assembly worker during the summer months, but she’s a cook at a school in Genesee County during the school year. She says the work she’s doing at Nightlock and in the school is making a difference.

“It’s just another solution, you know, that can help, even if it helps just a few, you know, it’s worth it,” Castle said.

“They developed a rather easy device that saves lives and hearing that testimony again from Oxford,” West said. “It was a no-brainer. They are saving lives in this country.”

Nightlock safety devices are in 3,000 school districts nationwide, which is about 15,000 schools.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.