In yesterday’s post I wrote about a video on classroom barricade devices that had gone viral. In the first 36 hours or so, the video had 18 million views. 18 MILLION! Almost 600,000 people have shared the video on Facebook, and about 6,500 people have commented. This is an amazing (and somewhat disturbing) example of the power of social media.
Many of the comments praise the innovation and the intent behind the product demonstrated in the video. Many of the comments are related to guns in schools or gun control, which in my opinion is a separate issue and distracts from the security vs. life-safety discussion. Some of the comments describe how an active shooter’s gun can defeat the device, or shoot through the door, with lots of responses dismissing these concerns. Several people from the door and hardware industry and other readers of iDigHardware have commented or responded to the comments of others, describing the potential unintended consequences of classroom barricade devices, and the liability concerns.
What happens next remains to be seen. Will schools be pressured into using these security methods, or will they demonstrate that their existing locksets and emergency plan will accomplish their security goals while maintaining safety? Will individuals purchase the devices and be allowed to use them in their classrooms? Will code officials enforce the current model code requirements, or will they change their state or local codes to allow the use of these locking methods?
I have resisted creating a video illustrating the potential unintended consequences – a video that shows someone using the device hanging next to the door to secure the classroom and assault a student or teacher, a video that shows kids locked down in the classroom when the intruders use explosives or set a fire in the school, or a video of emergency responders delayed or prevented from entering a classroom to help in a hostage situation or an impending suicide. On the other hand it is terrifying to sit around and wait for a tragedy to occur so I can point to that as evidence of the potential side-effects of delaying egress and access.
Another video about the perceived benefits of classroom barricade devices was sent to me yesterday by Lieutenant Joseph Hendry of the Kent State University Police Department. As Lt. Hendry pointed out, the video illustrates that the device hangs on the wall next to the door, where it may be used by anyone – including an unauthorized person. Some of the devices shown in the video require the door to be opened in order to install the device and secure the door. Lt. Hendry is also a trainer with the ALICE Training Institute, and he noted that the reliance on classroom barricade devices focuses the response too heavily on traditional drive-by shooter training (lockdown) rather than active threat/terrorist training with emphasis on multi-option response and primary evacuation of the facility. For more information on this, refer to Lt. Hendry’s articles in Doors & Hardware magazine, or in Campus Safety.