HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Feb. 14 marked three years since a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and injuring 17 more.
Since then, Hancock County resident Todd Drummond along with his son have been hard at work to save and protect children during tragic events, creating the Defender Safe Space Desk. Drummond said the desk is designed to serve as a safe place.
“Using the Parkland shooting as an example, children didn’t have a defense,” said Drummond. “And an idea popped into my head to provide the child a static desk that would able them to defend themselves by ducking behind it.”
Serving 20 years in law enforcement, four of those years as a school and research officer in Hancock County, Drummond grew to love protecting school children. He retired in 2016, then two years later in 2018 he was devastated to learn children had been killed while at school in Florida.
The following year, he created a charity “Defend Our Children” with the mission to stop school shootings.
“The charity is structured in a format for donations to help less privileged schools,” said Drummond. “The mission is to stop school shootings by equipping schools with our desks. The movement is to engage our nation.”
The safe space desk is made with ballistic material and it took about three years to bring it to life.
“Ballistic materials are like a net, it’s like a catchall of a bullet,” said Drummond. “It is designed to withstand the impact of similar to like a bowling ball hitting it at 55 miles an hour.”
The way it works is, the child will exit his or her seat then immediately crawl into the desk, then they’ll pull the door shut with the handle inside.
“There’s a handle to close the desk and a there’s a handle above their head, the two handles are dual purpose,” said Drummond. “One of course to close it, but also to prevent any action to open it. It would take a tremendous force to open it.”
Drummond said the desk itself weighs 130 pounds, then adding the student’s weight should be very difficult to move, especially in a hurry. However, Drummond said that weight was difficult to decide, seeing teachers move desks often for group work and other classroom activities.
Through Drummond’s charity, he wants to provide the desks free of charge to schools that can’t afford them.
“These are $1,800 a piece and we do not want to put a price on a child’s life,” said Drummond. “We’ve lost so many lives and we don’t have any idea what those children would’ve done for us. I can say that we’ve lost a lot, enough already. Enough is enough.”
Drummond said he’s working to create safe desk for teachers as well. To learn more information about Drummond’s safe space desk, click here.