NEW TOWN, ND (KXNET) — Many schools in the U.S. are taking steps to tighten security for their staff and students. A local elementary school in our state even invested in some new hardware for just that.

Preparing kids for school used to mean new shoes, a backpack, pencils, and a lunch box. But after a record year for school shootings, preparation for student safety at school is taken more seriously.

Edwin Loe Elementary School has taken a proactive response to the situation that has devastated so many.

By implementing Barracuda Bars in every room, and training teachers and students with the ALICE protocol, they feel they are fighting back against any active school shooter they may face.

“Years ago, what happened is, would run in the corner of your room, and hope the bad guy doesn’t come to your room. You had really no defense if they did. We’ve taken the ALICE training which basically says we’re going to prepare as much as we can, but if that bad guy gets in, we’re going to fight back,” said John Gartner, Vice Principal for Edwin Loe Elementary School.

ALICE Stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

And that’s what they practiced today with the help of the school’s newly purchased barracuda bars.

The bars are placed under the classroom’s door, or on the classroom’s door handle, and secure the door to stay shut, no matter the amount of force.

Each teacher was tested to get the security bars in place, and many say it’s great practice, just in case.

“Kids get scared. They see reality, they see the news, and they know that it could happen. Even who I am, I get nervous, I get scared and so having drills like this helps us get used to the feeling of it. Leaders at Edwine Loe Elementary will continue to perfect the protocol,” said Dedre Wheeler, the School Counselor at Edwin Loe Elementary School.

Drills will continue to be held with teachers and students to be as prepared as possible.

Gartner explained, “The only way this is going to work is if everyone is on the same page. Because the whole thing about an active school shooter in your building is you do not want to get them in your classroom.”

The 200 barracuda bars that lock each classroom cost about $100 apiece. Totaling $20,000 for Edwin Loe Elementary. But leaders say, that is a small price to pay for the lives of their students.