I occasionally publish a post from a guest blogger, and I just learned that sometimes the author can receive CEUs for these posts through various industry organizations.  If you have an opinion you’d like to share, drop me an email.  Today’s post is from Don Cherry of Allegion.


In considering classroom security locks (key inside locks exterior lever) versus office function locks (push or thumb turn button inside locks exterior lever) for use on classroom doors, I would make the following comments:

Some very valid points can be made with regard to ease of use of hardware which can be locked with the simple motion of pushing a button. Concerns about performance of people under duress are quite valid. Military, law enforcement, and other public safety agencies constantly drill critical functions so that they become almost automatic for exactly these reasons.

Push-button locks, however, do bring with them a couple of critical points which must be considered carefully before they are deployed. Any product which can be locked by any person means that in addition to rapid locking during an intruder-response situation, other scenarios become possible. These can include; lockouts as a prank, barricading a space during student-on-student or student-on-staff violence, and hostage situations. District management must fully understand these issues and be prepared to respond immediately and harshly to anyone misusing such products. A seemingly minor detail also becomes important. Correct floor and or wall stops must be installed to prevent doors from becoming locked simply due to the interior button bumping against a wall when open.

Most manufacturers have had push-button locks (office function) as described above, in place for decades, just as they have had traditional classroom function locks. The advent of classroom security function products is largely due to some of the above-noted threats. Many double-cylinder classroom security locks, such as the Schlage ND75, incorporate an arrow and the text “lock” to ensure that users know which way to turn the key to lock the door from the interior.

It is also critical to note that most push button locking products will incorporate functions which are undesirable in intruder-response scenarios. With most push-button locks, turning the inside lever will unlock the door. If someone exits a locked space during a crisis situation, they or someone else will need to relock the door. With other push button functions, closing the door if the button is pushed prior to closing will also unlock the exterior lever. Double-cylinder classroom locks always allow free egress, but remain locked if the interior lever is used.

Many large districts have deployed large numbers of double-cylinder classroom locks with good success. Staff is routinely drilled on use of the locks, and the interior cylinders are often keyed alike, and keyed in common with other hardware all staff members routinely use, such as staff lounges and lavatories. Keying these products in this manner ensures that any person carrying this key can lock whatever space they may occupy, while still providing security for individual spaces. Such a common use interior key can be issued to short term personnel such as substitute teachers while minimizing lost / non-returned key security risks. Many districts have implemented a policy where all staff members are required to have this key with them at all time. Some districts issue a lanyard, so the key is always within reach.

With many security solutions, the consequences of their implementation can lead to unintended results. Valid points can be raised with regard to either product, and choosing between push-button or double-cylinder classroom locks must be weighed carefully. As always, we are happy to assist you in providing the best possible security solutions. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to let us know.

Don Cherry, Jr., PSP, CCPR
Allegion, plc of New England
77 Wexford Street, Needham Heights, MA 02494
Cell Phone 508-335-0339
Fax 866-492-9337
Direct Dial 781-453-5309
Main Office 781-449-2860



Comments?  For more information on classroom security, check out this whiteboard animation video on the topic.

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