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Rivard's invention promotes school safety

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Justin Rivard is shown receiving a state proclamation from State Sen. Patty Schachtner at the March Somerset Board of Education meeting. Submitted photo2 / 2

Justin Rivard's interest in the safety of his classmates led the 2018 Somerset High School graduate to own a business that is receiving worldwide attention.

Rivard invented "JustinKase" a door-jamming system that prevents intruders from entering school rooms. And in less than a year, his business has grown to have customers all across the country and the planet.

Rivard's story was first told in the New Richmond News in August 2017. Boyd Huppert from KARE 11 television followed up on the story, and from there, attention skyrocketed. Rivard became a national media figure, with his story reaching national audiences days after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. He was interviewed by national media outlets like CNN and Fox News. His story also appeared in publications like the Washington Times and the New York Post.

In the days following the story breaking national, SHS teacher Jen Sutton screened the calls for Rivard so he could spend some time on his studies and athletics.

"The first few weeks it was very crazy. In the first day, 15 radio stations wanted to do interviews," he said.

The recognition of Rivard's invention grew so largely that he was featured on Euro News, one of the largest news outlets in Europe.

When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a $100 million school safety bill in March, Rivard was named specifically in the bill as one of the people who has been active in raising public awareness of safety in the schools.

This led State Sen. Patty Schachtner of Somerset to draw up a citation from the Senate.

"I thought it was important to recognize Justin as a bright student and entrepreneur who is working to make our schools safer," said Schachtner. "Students and parents are worried about the safety of our schools. Justin stepped up, applied his skills, and provided teachers and students with a crucial tool to use during active shooter situations. That is why I presented him with the citation and adjourned the State Senate session in his honor."

Rivard also received a Citizen Commendation from St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson in March.

Military service

Rivard will have to be involved from afar in the business, beginning in early July. He has enlisted in the U.S. Army. His first year will be in training and the next two will be in active duty.

"Air and Missile Defense fits my skill set," Rivard said of his enlistment choice. "Ever since I was a freshman, I wanted to be a scout sniper."

While in basic training, Rivard won't be able to contact anyone about the business. He is leaving the business in good hands. He and his dad are 50-50 partners in the venture. A friend, Rob Schmidt, has become part of the business and he will speak for Rivard when he's serving his military duty. Schmidt designed the company website (

Business growth

When Rivard started the business, he said his goal was to have the schools in the Middle Border Conference purchase the device. Interest in his invention quickly grew beyond those goals. He received an order for 90 devices from the Grantsburg School District. A grandmothers organization in Peshtigo raised funds for 120 of the door-jamming systems.

Rivard started the idea in a technology education class in school. When the business began, he manufactured the devices himself. With the rapid growth in interest, the Rivards signed a contract with Kendall Howard, a metal manufacturer in Chisago, Minn. Through the work with Kendall Howard, Rivard said the product has been enhanced, and it can now withstand 15,000 pounds of force against it. The locking system will also be easier to turn and lock.

By May, the JustinKase device had been shipped to customers in 42 states.

Here is a link to Rivard's interview on Fox Business News:


Rivard also had an outstanding spring as a member of the Somerset High School track team. Rivard was one of the top shot putters in western Wisconsin. He cleared to 50-foot mark several times during the spring season and was able to qualify to the sectional level in the WIAA tournament series.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for more than 30 years.

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