For years, there was very little funding available for the security upgrades needed to maintain a basic level of physical security in schools – access control at main entrances, locked and monitored doors at other exterior locations, and lockable assembly spaces and classrooms. Security vestibules at entrances and cross-corridor doors to compartmentalize the building could delay or prevent entry and movement throughout the school during a hostile event, but all of these modifications are costly. In many districts, the money just wasn’t there.
In the last year or so, much more funding has become available – millions of dollars. Then one of the problems was that some of the funding was given without much guidance as to what the money could be used for. Most grants did not stipulate that the money must be spent on security methods/devices that were code-compliant, so some schools purchased classroom barricade devices. In addition to concerns about impeding evacuation, installation on fire doors, ADA issues, and unauthorized lockdown, some schools are now reporting problems with the performance of the retrofit devices they purchased.
Within the last month, Wisconsin has awarded two rounds of grants to schools, for use in purchasing access control, locks for classroom doors, active-shooter training, security film for glazing, and other security needs. When the funding became available, some school administrators wanted to know whether it could be used for classroom barricade devices. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Service answered that question definitively in a bulletin issued a few weeks ago:
Have you seen any good sources of information for available state funding for school security?
- WW: Wisconsin Teen’s Door-Locking Device Offers Extra Safety In Active Shooter Situations
- Minnesota State Fire Marshal Position on Classroom Barricade Devices
- Classroom Security Considerations