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Jun 05 2017

A Tale of Two Schools

Category: Egress,News,School SecurityLori @ 1:31 pm Comments (11)

I admit, I have sometimes been accused of thinking too much.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m the oldest child with 4 little brothers (who used to shoot arrows and throw rocks up in the air and try to run away before they came down), or because I’m the mom of 3, or for some other reason, but I don’t just see the little kid running down the sidewalk.  I see the kid veering off into oncoming traffic.  It’s a curse.

Because of my involvement in codes and security, I don’t just see the inappropriately-locked door – I see the people trapped in an emergency.  Sometimes I’m tempted to “let it go” and think “there PROBABLY won’t ever be a fire, shooting, etc.”  When I have to get the fire marshal involved because the building owner is not interested in correcting the problems, I sometimes feel a little guilty – like I’m tattling or getting someone in trouble.  But “what if?”  How would I feel if I ignored the issue and someone got hurt, or worse?

I read the two news stories below on the same day, which struck me as ironic.  When it comes to security and safety, you can take the easy, fast, and cheap approach, or take the time to carefully consider the issues and alternatives and invest in a suitable solution.

Police activity near Fordland High School resulted in a lockdown, which was accomplished with “one push of a button” but at a cost of “nearly $4 million total” for the district’s security system.*

At Fraserburgh Academy, a 13-year-old girl was beaten up by a 12-year-old girl (not a student at the school), while other students videotaped the fight and watched for approaching teachers.  According to one news report, a student locked the gym doors before the attack.  The response from the school was to have the janitor secure three of the exits with brackets and screws.

Life safety is everyone’s responsibility.  Maybe I should have some t-shirts printed.  😀

* In the interview with the reporter for this story, a parent says that she feels safe knowing that the doors are locked and nobody can get in or out.  I’m assuming that with a $4-million pricetag, the local code officials were involved and the doors do allow egress – even during a lockdown.  Maybe one of my readers will know.

Images:  Ozarks First and Aberdeen Evening Express.

11 Responses to “A Tale of Two Schools”

  1. Cda says:

    No report on the first one if any city offical approved the locking devices.

  2. Cda says:

    4 million for three schools??

  3. Dave Snell, AHC says:

    Did you notice on the second video that the doors also had barrel bolts and a Mag Locks.

  4. Kent Krauser, AHC,FDAI says:

    What happens if the shooter is a teacher? He/she can lock the doors and keep the victims locked inside and the help locked out. Do they have a fire alarm over-ride of this system? A $4M price tag buys a lot of Co-220 locksets. And these are educated people?? Wow!

  5. Rich McKie says:

    Well meaning individuals often don’t consider, or for that matter know the possible consequences of their actions.
    Custodians with battery drills are something every school district has to deal with. Fortunately most our custodians are so overworked due to years of budget cuts that messing with doors is considered “Not my job”.
    We have a policy that repairs to exterior doors, or issues with our lockdown/card access system get immediate dispatch without waiting for
    work orders to be processed. That helps give administrators and staff confidence that safety issues have the highest priority.
    Once our access/lockdown system is completed in the coming fiscal year (year 4 of a 4 year project) all of our 50 schools will have the capability
    to have their perimeters secured at the push of a button. I believe that we will also be pretty close to a total expenditure of 3 million dollars, and yes, all of our doors allow egress. The Fire code is our #1 priority.
    Now we just have to stop the teachers from wedging the doors open.
    Lori-Sign me up for a T-Shirt! 🙂

  6. Pete Schifferli says:

    I spent 34 years in public education and it is my considered observation that there are few visionary school administrators who consider situations carefully and look at the big picture. Many make knee jerk decisions, like the imbecile in the example who ordered the exit doors screwed shut; and then move on to the next crisis.

  7. Louise says:

    Did I miss-hear what was said?
    1. The exteriors of all sites are activated when one site hits the button?
    2. Are they really locked in as well as locked out?

    Lori, put me on the shirt list.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Lou –

      I’d be surprised if the kids are locked in, but I don’t have any way to confirm what type of hardware is on the doors. And it did say that all doors in the district are locked by one button but that’s kind of unusual.

      – Lori

      • Louise says:

        Well I hope the system will at least notify the authorities as to which building initiated the lockdown.

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