Bristol Central teacher leads way to ensure school’s safety

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Several Bristol Central High School teachers have explored DonorsChoose for their fundraising needs. Kevin Estela has joined that donor club.

“This all started when I picked up this first aid kit that every teacher is given at the beginning of each school year,” said Estela. “I remember saying, ‘Wow, that’s a couple pieces of gauze, some rubber gloves, and some bandages, but, that’s not enough to respond appropriately if there was ever a traumatic issue here, or a major tragedy’.”

Estela, who has been a geography and history teacher at BCHS since 2006, has experience as a survivalist instructor. He also is trained in several forms of martial arts.

BCHS had purchased emergency survival kits, but Estela said, “They contained a lot of gear that just wasn’t appropriate for responding to a typical school tragedy” — such as emergency lifeboat rations.

As a result, he turned to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.

Estela’s project is “Properly Supplying our Building Go Kits in Case of Emergency.” Estela said he wanted “to make sure we, as a school, have what we need to properly respond to the very real threat of school violence including mass shootings.”

According to the project description, “The kits will help us address mass trauma and assist in getting students safe and fast egress from the building. This is not the gear you want to buy but you should since it is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

“[In] the first wave of DonorsChoose, I asked for 10 tourniquets, 10 clotting gauzes, and 10 Israeli bandages… We had to divide that up [amongst kits], and I said that’s not enough for four kits,” said Estela. “I did a second run of DonorsChoose and that one was another 10 tourniquets, another 10 clotting gauzes, another 10 Israeli bandages, as well as door stops, duct tape, and higher quality flashlights.”

Estela’s DonorChoose projects were funded in under three days each, and the amount of money raised for both totalled $1,727.

Estela said a colleague at Bristol Eastern High School will be working with him in order to equip BEHS with similar kits. Estela hopes to be able to outfit every Bristol school with similar kits, and asks that the Bristol community continue to help donate to this project.

“It’s something that means a lot to me,” said Estela, “to be able to ensure that the kids are going to have the right tools to respond to the emergency if there ever is one.”