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Jul 10 2014

School Security in the News

Category: School SecurityLori @ 12:06 am Comments (10)

Photo: Chris Crook, Times Recorder

The following article announces yet another “classroom security device.”  Despite the inventors’ best intentions, I do not support methods of securing classrooms that a) inhibit free egress, b) prevent fire doors from latching, or c) can be used by unauthorized individuals.  I know many of you feel the same way, so what are we going to do about them?  There’s a new one in the news every week:

Ohio SWAT member designs device to protect against school attackers – Bucyrus Telegram

For an outward swinging door, a bar-like device is positioned against the door jam on both sides with the hook grabbing the door handle. Securing the device is as simple as turning the attached handle until it is snug, Lowe said, which helps in times of panic.

The device for inward swinging doors is placed on the floor and slid under the door crack, where it expands to fit the door jam and can be secured with a locking pin. The idea for this system came to Lowe after hearing about the Virginia Tech teacher who protected his class by sitting on the floor and jamming his feet up against the door. In tests of both systems, the door or its hinges broke before the device.

A few other school security articles in recent news…

Residents Angry at False Code Red at Marshall School – TAPintoSOMA

South Orange and Maplewood parents and teachers expressed anger and frustration over a false code red alarm at Marshall School in South Orange that failed to alert police to what appeared to be an armed intruder. Marshall serves grades kindergarten though second grade.

The alarm is supposed to lock all school doors and immediately notify the police. School officials were unaware that the alarm is not, in fact, connected to the police department.

“That functionality is not yet operational,” said outgoing Superintendant Brian Osborne before teachers and parents spoke. “Yet the school believed that it was. We really need to get to the bottom of why exactly that was.”


TDSB fears potential security breach, spending $700,000 to change locks in 100 schools – The Star

The Toronto District School Board is changing locks at some schools after accidentally releasing lock codes to the media.

Friday, the Star removed the “pin codes” from publicly released data it was hosting on its website as part of Project School Work, an innovative online project that allows readers who care about their schools to search maintenance and construction costs at individual facilities.

A TDSB official had alerted the Star that when it released the electronic registry to the Star, officials forgot to remove notations of pin codes for locks at about 100 schools. The TDSB said there were no security breaches but as a precaution they decided to go into the schools and change the codes.


The stakes mark out a new, more secure main entrance and office for the school on Osman Avenue North — part of a $3.4 million districtwide effort to improve school security and increase safety.

Starting this fall, visitors to Oak Park and the eight other elementary schools in the district will use a video-intercom system to be buzzed into the main office, where they will need to show picture IDs and be issued visitors’ badges.

“It’s all about security,” said Dennis Bloom, the district’s director of operations. “We need to know who is in our buildings from the time school starts until the time school ends — to know who is there and where they are going.”

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10 Responses to “School Security in the News”

  1. John Truempy says:

    I get a knot in my stomach each time I see one of these alternative ways to lock a door. If there were not products that did the same thing without causing another danger I may not care but there are plenty of ways to lock out an intruder without impeding egress. Also every dime spent on these alternatives is a waste of limited resources that could be applied to the right hardware.

    The inventor of this new product must be paying more attention in his SWAT classes then his fire safety classes.

  2. David Barbaree says:

    There is more information on these sites.

    This seems way better than the sleeve but I can’t believe a fire fighter came up with this.

    Someone, maybe Allegion, should do a comparison video. What holds up better against forced entry? A locked cylindrical, mortise, or exit device? Or an unlocked door with various accessory items like this that restrict egress?
    Something like the fire truck vs exit device video.
    Or the tank video.

  3. David Barbaree says:

    The video shows the device for the out-swinging door being slipped over the lever. Now most lever retaining pins are pretty good but I’m thinking the holding force of the actual latch in the center of the door is WAY stronger. So that big steel bar’s weakest link is a tiny pin.
    My 15 year old son said I should make a commercial for the innovative new security system I’ve invented in order to “keep kids safe from these senseless tragedies.” He said, “It’s called locking the door!”
    Kids say the darnedest things!

  4. Keith Krienke says:

    I will second that could not agree more.

  5. David R. DeFilippo says:

    By the time someon reacts to get this on there are 10 dead people. I don’t expect much change in a society that worships guns and God in the same breath.

  6. Chuck says:

    There are already some “Close The Door” PSAs (, maybe you and your son can develop a “Lock The Door” PSA for schools.

    • David Barbaree says:

      Chuck, that is a very informative video. Thanks for sharing it. The PSA by the FDNY is powerful and memorable. I’m not sure I have the video/editing skills needed to create something like this but I do think someone should.
      Lori, maybe Allegion’s ad team could come up with something. And like the FDNY video, use the repetitive, almost creepy technique to help people remember. Door….door…..the door….the door…lock the door…lock the door.
      Maybe the overall motto could be: LOCK the door….Don’t BLOCK the door, please!

  7. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    SWAT does not equal AHC… Another classic case of someone with credentials, but unrelated to the field, coming up with some dime store pseudo solution while endangering life safety and breaking the law…

    I cringe to think about the time one of these devices is put in place and a tragedy shows what the true cost is.

  8. David Barbaree says:

    And, here’s another one….. but it’s okay because it’s endorsed by a bunch of law enforcement agencies.
    Oh, and guess what! I doesn’t violate any codes. See, they checked!

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