Classroom barricade devices can cause more harm than they prevent, the Security Industry Association (SIA) is warning in support of an effort launched by the Door Security & Safety Foundation.
As school administrators consider ways to protect students and staff from violence, particularly active shooters, some are purchasing barricade devices that prevent all entry into a classroom when deployed.
These devices, however, often violate fire codes. In addition, the possibility that a bully or violent student who is already in a classroom could use the device to prevent school staff or first responders from entering could put students at greater risk.
“We’re all seeking the best way to protect children, but we can’t focus only on countering the specific—and, fortunately, highly unlikely—threat of an active shooter, while making other dangers much worse,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said.
“Classroom door locks provide a high level of security in all situations, while the net effect of barricade devices would be to reduce the safety and security of students.”
The Door Security & Safety Foundation has produced a short video (see below) and a white paper explaining the dangers created by these devices — especially since bullying and violence perpetrated by students, rather than intruders, occur far more often than active shooter incidents — and urging that “no door locking device that also compromises life safety should be approved by any jurisdiction.”
(The Dangers of Classroom Door Barricade Devices. What are the consequences of installing barricade devices on classroom doors? Find out from the experts. Courtesy of Door Security & Safety Foundation and YouTube)
Code-compliant classroom door locks that permit authorized access from outside are the best way to ensure the security and safety of students and staff, SIA and foundation officials said. In fact, they noted, there appear to be no documented incidents of an active shooter breaching a locked classroom door.
The Door Security & Safety Foundation’s effort is also being supported by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), which was co-founded by SIA and the National Systems Contractors Association.
PASS has released its own white paper on classroom barricade devices, which is available at http://www.passk12.org, and PASS Steering Committee Member Guy Grace, the director of security and emergency planning for Littleton, Colo., Public Schools, warns in the foundation video of the “unintended consequences” of such devices.
“When it comes to the security and safety of students and teachers, especially when it involves classroom doors, politics and emotions should never override professional opinions and accepted best practices reinforced by building and fire codes,” Grace says in the video.
The Security Industry Association (SIA) is the leading trade association for global security solution providers, with roughly 700 innovative member companies representing thousands of security leaders and experts who shape the future of the security industry.
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