Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Jun 08 2015

What happened in Ohio?

Category: School SecurityLori @ 2:22 pm Comments (16)

image2As many of you know, a public hearing with the Ohio Board of Building Standards was held last Friday.  This hearing was part of an ongoing discussion about whether Ohio should allow barricade devices to be used to secure classroom doors.  There was a previous hearing where invited speakers presented their views; on Friday the podium was open to anyone who had something to share with the Board.  These hearings were prompted by the filing of bills in the Ohio House and Senate, summarized as:

“A BILL: To amend section 3737.84 and to enact section 3781.106 of the Revised Code to require the Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of a barricade device on a school door in an emergency situation and to prohibit the State Fire Code from prohibiting the use of the device in such a situation.”

Friday’s 4-hour meeting began with a presentation from Joseph Bergant, who was the superintendent in Chardon, Ohio, when 3 students were killed in a February, 2012 shooting.  Mr. Bergant told board members and the audience of 40-50 people to “Expect the Unexpected,” and described different types of incidents that schools may face, including bomb threats, fires, bus accidents, tornadoes, as well as school shootings.  He stressed relationships, pre-planning and drills, and a holistic approach involving all stakeholders with different perspectives – “gadgets and gimmicks aren’t gonna do it.”  The Ohio AIA chapter posted an article about Mr. Bergant’s testimony here.

With regard to locking of classrooms, Mr. Bergant explained that Chardon High School’s classroom doors were equipped with standard classroom function locksets, which have a key cylinder on the outside only.  This lock function requires teachers to open the door, and possibly even enter the corridor, in order to lock the door.  After the shooting, Chardon’s classroom locks were re-keyed, keys were issued to all teachers, and the current policy is that the outside lever is always kept locked so doors are immediately locked when they are closed.  When asked by the Board if he would support the use of barricade devices, he said that he would not, because emergency responders would not be able to enter the room to assist occupants.  He also talked about the need for egress / evacuation, and concern that students could use the devices for unauthorized lockdown.

Members of the Door Security and Safety Foundation and the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association worked together to make sure that our industry was well-represented at the public hearing by an Ohio distributor, 3 manufacturers, and a representative from BHMA – all with experience participating on code committees.  A speaker from Underwriters Laboratories and an architect both shared their perspective.  There were 8 code officials who spoke, some of whom were against the use of barricade devices, and others who thought the decision should be left up to the local AHJ.  A speaker with law enforcement and teaching experience who is an ALICE instructor stated that barricade devices are not needed or recommended, and could be used by an attacker.  Three barricade device manufacturers were represented, as well as the community organization that raised $30,000 and purchased barricade devices for their district.  The goal of all speakers appeared to be the security of students and school staff.

Some* of the main points of discussion included:

  • Current code requirements for free egress, fire protection, and accessibility are based on past historic events and an all-hazards approach.  We need to support the code development process which includes the perspectives of many, and to support the enforcement of those codes.
  • Code change proposals which address the locking of classroom doors are already moving through the code development process, and adoption of these proposals could be expedited by Ohio and other states.
  • Labeled / listed code-compliant locks are available, and must be part of a holistic approach, including the size, location, and type of glazing used near locking hardware, as well as key distribution, training, and drills.
  • Shooters or students may deploy barricade devices to take hostages, commit a crime, or as a prank.  The ability to access the room from the corridor using a key or other credential is critical.  School districts need to consider the unintended consequences, and their liability in using barricade devices.
  • A couple of speakers mentioned that code-compliant locks are not always feasible, but one building official pointed out that the issue should not be money, since schools have million-dollar football programs and multi-media signage.

The final speaker (Mark Berger of Securitech), testified “on behalf of someone who couldn’t be here to speak” – the security director of the World Trade Center, who died on 9/11.  Mark spoke about his involvement in the security measures taken at the WTC after the 1993 bombing, telling the Board that there was never any temptation to impede egress in favor of security, and as a result, 9/11 was the greatest building evacuation in world history, with 99% of people below the level of impact evacuating safely.  The point…we can accomplish both – security and safety.

I can’t predict what will happen next, but a decision is due in July.  So now we wait.

Thank you to all who helped with this effort!

*There were many additional points made.  If you have questions about anything in particular, you can leave them in the comment box and I’ll answer the best I can.

Photo:  Mark Berger, Securitech

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Recent Posts

16 Responses to “What happened in Ohio?”

  1. Jerry Rice says:

    Thank you and the rest of the people who spoke for both security and safety. Well done!

  2. Cda says:

    Was or is “barricade device” defined?

  3. Chuck Park says:

    I am embarrassed that I don’t remember his name, but the WTC Security Director was the keynote Speaker for one of the ILA’s educational conferences in either 1999 or 2000. He spoke of the security measures prior to the 1993 attack, and afterwards. To paraphrase his comments, they did not want to turn the world’s showcase office building into a prison, but still wanted the utmost security.

  4. Ronald Betschman says:

    Thanks for your work on this important legislation. 1.)Do you have this synopsis in a downloadable print friendly format so I can hand it to my State Representative/Senator? 2.)Is there anything I can do to keep the momentum going?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Ron –

      You could send a link to your rep, and maybe include links to some of the other documents on my Schools tab. If you’d like me to create a printable letter or informational piece beyond what’s already available, let me know what you’d like to see on it. I think it’s important to continue to educate the legislators, because I don’t know what will happen if the Board makes a decision to uphold the code requirements and the law passes anyway. I’m not sure what else to do to continue the momentum, but if you have ideas, I’m all ears!

      – Lori

  5. Ronald Betschman says:

    A full copy of the ALOA article “Call to Arms” was left on my Representative’s kitchen table to review in the evening with his wife,etc. A link would be sent to his office for his aide to review and pass on with comments,maybe. An article I could take to the Locksmith meeting this weekend to pass around- a link just won’t make the cut there either.

    • Lori says:

      There are plenty of documents that you can print out and pass along. If you can’t find what you need on the Schools tab I can email PDFs directly to you. If there’s something you need that I don’t already have, I will try to get it / make it for you.

  6. Ronald Betschman says:

    Called the State Rep. office this AM to see if a campaign in the House will make a difference since the Bill had its last reading yesterday. If the Caucus consensus is to “push it through- as amended” it may well be a waste to focus on the House and to look at the Senate Committee.If so, then I would propose creating a Top Ten list of why not to vote for passage using compact bullet points rather than creating voluminous reading material and also provided with a link to find out more if wanted. An outline might be as follows: 1.)opening Pandora’s box of liability 2.)Bars used as weapons 3.)Storing-securing the bar 4.)recommendation of Association of State Fire Marshalls 5.)The importance of the I codes IBC,IFC, and NFPA 101 6.)Change of tactics-Chagrin Falls 7.)World Trade Center 9/11-lesson learned 8.)Columbine and I.E.D.’ 9.)ALICE training recommendation 10.)Michigan Bath School Disaster 1927 10.) OSHA concerns

  7. matthew says:

    Those who would surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

  8. Ronald Betschman says:

    Update. The House reading that was held yesterday was the last reading. The Senate snuck the bill into the Budget hearings [under the radar so to speak] so they will have no hearings. If a convincing arguement can be presented to Rep. Boose he would be willing to present it in the Conference meeting between the two Houses [realize that he would being going against the wishes of the Republican Caucus and he could endanger any bills that he might liked to be passed in the future]. I will be working on something tonight and would be glad for any review/help.I should have the weekend to get it all sewn together.

  9. Krystina says:

    Just curious… what were the viable arguments *for* barricade devices? Viable includes statistics, facts, and not fear based assumptions. I understand our side of the argument, but I don’t understand the reverse, which is unusual for me (even if I don’t agree with it).

    • Lori says:

      I don’t know about viable…the main arguments I’ve heard are:

      1) Locks are too expensive
      2) Someone can break the glass and reach the lever handle – barricades can be mounted out of reach
      3) Teachers don’t have a key / don’t know how to operate the lock, but can install the barricade quickly
      4) The FBI (and others) recommend barricading with furniture…barricade devices are a better option

      Mostly, it’s all about this:

Leave a Reply

This website or its third party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the cookie policy. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.

This website or its third party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the cookie policy. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.