With the tragic increase in school shootings over the past few years, a great deal of focus has been placed on exactly how we can make our schools safer. A lot of this conversation begins with the basic topic of security. What types of locking devices or other means of security could schools employ that would increase the safety of the students and teachers inside?
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you will have noticed that there have been several new ideas for products that would allow students to engage some sort of locking device from the inside of the room that would not allow a potential shooter access. However, many believe that instead of having to install an entirely separate device to a door in a panicked moment in time, it might be better to actually have a lock installed on the door itself that can be easily engaged by students and teachers alike.
As it stands, many schools have doors that only lock from the outside. This puts the teachers or students at risk by forcing them to leave the classroom in order to lock the door. There are different locks available, such as Columbine Locks that allow the classroom to be locked from the inside that would hamper a potential shooter’s efforts to enter. Granted, the final decision will come down to the local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ.) Because there are different sets of AHJs in various areas, potentially each school district could have separate rules and regulations on school security.
One of the key requirements for doors within schools is that the classroom doors must allow single-action egress. This is why deadbolts aren’t allowed within the classrooms. Releasing a deadbolt requires more than one action which automatically disqualifies them from ever being allowed on a classroom door. As much as the topic of an active shooter comes to mind when anyone mentions “school security,” we really have to consider other possible situations such as fires or other disasters.
Somefeatures offered for classroom security locks are things such as the ability to have the door remain locked throughout the day, the door remaining locked except in an emergency situation and the option for door locks to be controlled by one central location. All of these provide different benefits and each school has individual needs. With options like this, there’s opportunity for schools to get locks that are specifically tailored to their needs.
While the chances of a violent event occurring is small, teachers, students and employees of the school must all be prepared regardless. With several locks available from companies such as Sargent and Corbin-Russwin, cost will be one of the deciding factors on what type of lock each individual school chooses. Always remember that life safety codes, ADA compliance and fire codes must all be taken into consideration when door functionality is determined.