I honestly thought I might run out of Wordless Wednesday photos someday, but they keep coming!  RB Sontag of Allegion sent me these photos of a creative latch hold-back retrofit on fire-rated classroom doors.

School Security 1

School Security 2

If Google has just brought you to iDigHardware for the very first time, here’s some background on this situation.  Schools are struggling to find cost-effective ways to quickly lock classroom doors if there is a problem in the building.  In these photos, they have used what looks like a plastic folder to prevent the latch from projecting into the strike.  The outside knob is kept locked at all times, but because the lock won’t latch, people can enter by pulling the door open.  One of the problems with this is that fire doors are required to latch.  Preventing the latch from projecting into the strike makes the fire door non-compliant.

The other problems I have with this application are a) this is not a good long-term solution from a durability standpoint, b) in addition to protecting against an intruder, it’s also important to protect against an unauthorized person taking control of a classroom.  There are THOUSANDS of crimes committed in schools each year – assault, theft, vandalism, sexual assault…with an office function lockset or a lock that is kept locked all the time, what is to prevent someone from locking a classroom door to commit a crime?  If the teachers can’t carry a key to lock a classroom security lock, how will they unlock the door after it has been locked by an unauthorized person?

This may seem unlikely, but it HAS happened.  It is actually much more likely than an intruder situation.  Will schools be held liable for “allowing” a crime to happen by giving the unauthorized person the ability to lock the door?  I’m not a lawyer, but with schools paying settlements for wired glass injuries and being sued for inadequate security, I think it’s something to consider.

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