Middletown schools have emergency survival kits in every classroom | #schoolsaftey

MIDDLETOWN — Every classroom in this city’s 10 public school buildings is now equipped with safety containers to help students and staffers better survive an active shooter attack and other emergencies.

The completion of Middletown Schools’ safety “Barricade Bucket” project, which began last school year, is the latest, major step by the city school to assuring safety during any emergency, said district officials.

“The safety and well-being of our students, staff, and entire school community will always be our top priority,” said Middletown Schools Superintendent Deborah Houser.

“The Barricade Buckets are a vital addition to our school safety program, and offer an extra layer of security in case of any emergency situation,” said Houser.

The oversized buckets contain emergency medical supplies and other essential items to aid students and staffers who may be locked into their classrooms during an active shooter lockdown or other emergencies.

And classrooms above the ground floor are now equipped with collapsible ladders.

The funds and materials for the Barricade Bucket project were a cooperative effort of many in the Middletown area, said school officials.

Besides the city schools, also contributing were Middletown Police, Atrium Medical Center Foundation and the Atrium Medical Center’s Level III Emergency Trauma Center.

Through monetary and in-kind donations, nearly $41,000 was raised, placing a Barricade Bucket in all 465 classrooms and shared spaces across Middletown Schools a collapsible ladder in all 116 second-floor classrooms.

In an announcement this week noting the project’s milestone, Mandi Arnett, director of nursing at Atrium Medical Center, said: “When Middletown Police Officer Jason Deaton brought this project to the attention of Police Chief David Birk in the fall of 2022, Atrium Medical Center had hoped to outfit the middle school and high school classrooms.”

“That initial undertaking felt daunting, but several partners came forward to support our efforts,” said Arnett.

She said Matthew 25: Ministries donated supplies, including toilet paper, hydrogen peroxide, feminine pads, and disposable gloves. Contributions from Atrium Medical Center employees, Atrium Medical Center Foundation donors, First Presbyterian Church in Middletown, and Lowe’s also jumpstarted the project.

Dozens of residents and businesses also made the funding of the project’s first phase possible. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #2, with support from the Middletown Moose, funded all buckets for Amanda Elementary.

And a bucket-building day brought school resource officers, members of the Kiwanis Club of Middletown, Atrium Medical Center nurses and leaders, and Atrium Medical Center Foundation staff together.

Funding to create Barricade Buckets for the remaining six elementary schools in the district was provided by: the Duke Energy Foundation, which funded all buckets at Mayfield Elementary; the Kiwanis Club of Middletown, which raised $8,500 toward the effort through personal donations and grants from the Middletown Community Foundation and the Ohio District Kiwanis Children’s Fund; and the Middletown Rotary Club, which donated $1,000 toward the effort.

“Seeing these buckets delivered inspired the next phase of the project – to provide Barricade Buckets in all elementary schools,” Arnett said. “Our community immediately stepped up.”

How to help

Officials said some perishable items in the buckets will need replenishing and asked the public if they would like to help support this ongoing effort. Donations may be made online at or mailed to Atrium Medical Center Foundation, One Medical Center Drive, Middletown, OH 45005.

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