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Liebl wants to protect high-schoolers

This Resqme safety device can be attached to a keychain. The device given to high school students in Stevens County has purple heart and a T in honor of Taryn Paul who died in a vehicle crash in September. Nicole Schmidt/Special to the Stevens County Times1 / 2
Morris Area FFA adviser Nick Milbrandt and student Brock Peterson show the car window that was shattered by the Resqme tool. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 2

Editor's note: Hancock High School teacher Nicole Schmidt contributed to this story.

Morris Area School District's school resources police officer Anita Liebl said it's her job to protect students in the school. Just before school break in December, Liebl helped provide

students in MAHS, Hancock High School and Chokio-Alberta High School with some protection outside of school.

Liebl, who is a Morris police officer and is on a contract to serve as resources officer at the school, organized the purchase and distribution of Resqme which is a car escape tool. The tool can cut through a seatbelt and break side windows in a vehicle. It's a small device that can be attached to a keychain.

Liebl said she was motivated by MAHS student Taryn Paul's Sept. 1 death in a vehicle crash.

"We lost a member of our school community in a very tragic accident before school started," Liebl said on Dec. 22 at MAHS. "I want to try and protect you," Liebl said to MAHS students.

"I researched different tools to keep in the car and found the Resqme tool. I liked it because it can be kept on your keys, or zip tied to the rear view mirror, signal lever arm, or shifter arm," Liebl said at Hancock High School. The device can always be within arm's reach of the driver and be used in an emergency situation if they need to get out of their car.

Liebl contacted the Resqme Company about the Resqme device and they gave her a discount and offered to do the printing of a purple heart with Taryn's initial in it for her order.

Liebl's idea gained support from the are business community, MAHS FFA, MAHS student council and relatives of Paul including her stepsister and two cousins who attend MAHS.

"It's awesome," stepsister Morgan Rouna said of the distribution of Resqme to high school students in the county. "We wouldn't want any community to go through what we did," Rouna said.

Rouna and two cousins, Brock Peterson and Karmen Sperr said Paul would have supported such a project.

"One-hundred percent," Peterson said.

"It feels good to know (we are helping to) make sure people can be safe," Sperr said. "This is an opportunity to get this help, if they ever need it."

Liebl, Peterson, Sperr and Rouna demonstrated how to use the Resqme on a junk vehicle's side window at all three high schools in the county.

"I was surprised it broke so easy," MAHS student Lexi Gomer said of the side window. Gomer and two other MAHS freshmen, Kennedy Hill and Morgan Mithun, said although they don't yet have driver's license the Resqme is a good tool to have.

"If it ever happens you can use it...," Hill said.

The devices were distributed to all high school students in the county. Next year, Liebl plans to give the device to freshmen only since other students received them in the prior year. The area National Guard has expressed an interest in becoming a partner next year, Liebl said.