Instead of fumbling for keys, locking classroom doors will be as simple as pulling a magnetic strip.
Montville PBA Local 140 has donated magnets for doors at Montville Township schools that are designed to make locking doors in the event of an emergency easier, without the need for teachers, substitutes or students to look for keys.
Alfonse Imperiale, directory of county critical infrastructure for the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, said the measure is valuable.
Imperiale visits schools around Morris County and evaluates security at the buildings, looking to keep schools as safe as possible in the event of an emergency. He said the recent school shooting in Ohio shows how important it is for schools to remain secure.
One of the recommendations he makes is that doors should be kept locked at all times to keep the classrooms secure, but he hears from the schools that's not convenient or practical.
The magnet helps address that issue, Imperiale said.
Created by Christopher Ambrosi of Denville, the magnet prevents the door from locking, even though it's in the locked position. When the magnet is pulled off and the door is shut, the door locks.
Ambrosi demonstrated the magnets on Friday morning at Lazar Middle School. Principal Sharon Carr said she always is eager to work with law enforcement to keep the school as safe as possible.
Ambrosi, who owns a locksmithing company in Denville, Master Grinding and Security, was asked by Denville schools if he had a way to keep the classrooms more secure while limiting any inconvenience.
He came up with the magnets. Montville Police Capt. Edward Rosellini saw the magnets at Morris Knolls High School one day. When he learned what they were, he thought they should be brought to Montville and the PBA agreed.
Rosellini said getting into lockdown faster could give police more time to arrive to a scene and possibly save lives. There was a concern students might take the magnets, but Rosellini said officials believe students will recognize the magnets are there for their safety.
Ambrosi said the magnets also can be positioned to designate which rooms have been evacuated during alarms.