The Security Industry Association (SIA) has taken a hard stance on classroom barricade devices, stressing that these intended safety measures can cause more harm than they prevent. The warning comes 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. The reality of these devices, however, is that many violate fire codes, and in the even that the violence emanates from within the classroom, the device could prevent school staff or first responders from entering the room in an emergency.
“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,” says Don Erickson, Security Industry Association CEO. “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 and a white paper explaining the dangers created by these devices and urging that “no door locking device that also compromises life safety should be approved by any jurisdiction.” Both are available at www.doorsecuritysafety.org/advocacy.
SIA and foundation officials stress that 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 officials also stress that 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 www.passk12.org. PASS Steering Committee Member Guy Grace, the director of security and emergency planning for Littleton, Colorado Public Schools, warns 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 or accepted best practices reinforced by building and fire codes,” says Grace.
The Security Industry Association (SIA) is a trade association for global security solution providers, with roughly 700 member companies representing thousands of security leaders and experts who shape the future of the security industry.