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Passion Project: Audrey Henry’s Coursework Brings Safety to Every Classroom

Audrey Henry teaches a class

Audrey Henry is set to graduate from the University of Indianapolis this spring—but her impact on campus will be felt for decades to come, all as a result of her coursework as she pursued a degree in elementary education. She, and everyone else, hopes that impact is never needed.

Audrey, a brand-new mom who just had her baby last month, spearheaded a safety initiative to protect every classroom on the UIndy  campus by getting security barriers installed that could be used in the case of an emergency. The NIGHTLOCK® door stoppers are simple in design, but extremely effective in preventing an intruder from breaching a door, like in the event of a school shooter.

Audrey Henry and husband Jared
Audrey Henry and her husband Ofc. Jared Henry.

The installation is the culmination of about a year’s worth of work on Audrey’s Passion Project with the School of Education. Ironically Henry, who is graduating in three years and is married to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Ofc. Jared Henry, won’t personally benefit because she has no classes left on campus. But that’s just fine with her.

“Safety has always been something that’s really important to me,” said Audrey. “Being married to a police officer, situational awareness is something you are trained to have, no matter where you are. I didn’t want myself to be in a bad situation, and I didn’t want others to be either.”

Audrey was familiar with the NIGHTLOCK from a previous job in a private school. After investigating different types of security barriers, she brought her research to UIndy Police Chief Brandon Pate. While increasing security of classroom doors was already on his radar as part of a comprehensive security plan for campus, Audrey’s research fast-tracked the process.

NIGHTLOCK barriers are being installed in every classroom.

“This is the exact collaboration that I greatly appreciate,” said Chief Pate. “Public safety is a community issue as well as a community-informed issue. I may be focused on the bird’s eye view, but if you have a great idea that touches your individual place on campus, it’s imperative that you share it so the entire UIndy community can benefit.”

Pate appreciates the simplicity and universality of the device, making it far easier to install campus-wide. The same barrier works whether the door swings inward or outward, or whether it swings from the left or right. He was also very impressed with a video demonstrating a police officer’s difficulty breaching the door even with special tools like a sledgehammer or Halligan bar used by firefighters. 

“Most school shootings are over within five to ten minutes,” said Pate. “It will take an intruder far longer to breach a door with this security barrier engaged, giving students, professors and staff critical time to be safe while police respond and engage an active shooter. That is literally the difference of life and death.”

The cost for more than 200 NIGHTLOCK barriers to be installed on campus is $13,000.

Jared, Audrey and Jared II
Jared and Audrey Henry with Jared II, who was born Feb. 10.

Audrey has just one more student teaching experience to go before she can graduate with her elementary education degree, with concentrations in STEM and reading, and a minor in mild interventions.

While she has no more classes to attend on campus, she rests easier knowing that others will be safer as they are on their educational journey at UIndy.

“It gives me great peace of mind and makes me feel good,” said Audrey. “My best friend still has another year at UIndy and all the other students are safer too. For everyone else to now have that safety blanket thanks to a simple lock and barrier, that’s good enough for me!”

She has already received positive feedback and an email telling her “thank you” from one of her education professors after the NIGHTLOCK was installed on their classroom door. It should be no surprise to anyone that her Passion Project received an A.