Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Sep 23 2010

Back to School

I received these photos last week and I didn’t have much advice…maybe someone else does.  These are classroom doors in a school for autistic children, and the extra locksets are due to the special needs of the students.  The students are unable to retract both latches at the same time (if they can even reach the upper lockset).  While this keeps the children in the classroom (a good thing), it also prevents egress (a bad thing).

Most locks which prevent egress would not be acceptable without a variance, with the exception of delayed egress locks which aren’t appropriate in this case and aren’t allowed by the IBC for educational occupancies.  Keeping in mind that the local code official would have to approve any proposed solution, what type of hardware would meet the needs of the school while providing for life safety in an emergency?

These photos were submitted by Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd.

And while we’re on the topic of school hardware, these photos are (sadly) from two schools that my kids attend:

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7 Responses to “Back to School”

  1. Jess says:


    sounds to me that the autistic classroom lockset setup they may be thinking about the codes relating to psychiatric facilities (and not schools) and figure that an adult fall enough would be there at all times to allow egress/entry for them. but yea, because of fire codes and the one motion action code, this definitely isn’t going to pass as one action exit!

    the school this door is located in, is it a general public or a special needs school??? special needs schools, some do deal with mental issues and people that are at risk of harming self or others,

    as for the cross corridor doors, since your kids go to the schools shown, can you suggest to maintenance that if they HAVE to be open that they get a magnetic hold open such as those sold by LCN or falcon?? with a wooden wedge the door cannot close in event of a fire or other emergency (many states banned the use of wooden doorstops, custodians constantly confiscate them, teachers keep making them)


  2. Cda says:

    My guess is the autistic school is private

    As far as what hardware, well hardware that meets code

    How to insure safety supervision, hire more staff

    But bells and whistles on the door to alert someone door has been opened

  3. Joe says:

    Not sure if this would meet the letter of the code, but wouldn’t putting a fail safe electric strike on the top latch solve the problem? The teachers would have the control they need and the kids would be able to get out in an emergency.

    • Lori says:

      That’s a good idea, Joe. No, it doesn’t officially meet the code requirements but this is a case where the kids need to be kept in the classrooms for their safety. For non-fire emergencies an emergency release button could be available in the classroom and even in the main office to release all of the top latchbolts at once. I had a similar thought but I was thinking mag-locks.

      – Lori

  4. Cda says:

    I guess what is really bad not only is the door knob up high

    But they also installed a dead bolt!!!!

    What is up with that

    Like I said install bells and whistles to alert staff or hire more staff

  5. Michael says:

    On the bottom lever – the deadbolt is below the lever rather than above. Is that how the particular lock is made or did they turn the mortise case upside down. If they turned it upside down, then the secure lever is also pointing inwards to prevent egress.

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