A few months ago, I posted a FEMA PrepTalk video of Michele Gay speaking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, from the perspective of a parent who lost a child that day. Today I share a new video from Michele and the organization she co-founded, Safe and Sound Schools.
In the email announcing the video, Michele wrote of a discussion that has undoubtedly taken place at countless schools across the country:
“At a recent school meeting, a parent was excited to share a revelation: perhaps those door-jamming mechanisms in hotels – the ones that swing into place – could be an easy, affordable way to secure doors at schools. While I love hearing suggestions from parents (after all, we all have a role to play in school safety), I had to explain why this type of solution actually puts students in danger, rather than protecting them. It broke my heart to dampen her enthusiasm, but I had to educate her about the importance of building and fire safety codes, Americans With Disabilities compliance, and unintended usage of barricade devices.”
Michele also addressed barricade devices in a list of requirements for classroom security in her recent blog post:
“Lastly – and this is especially difficult for many of us looking for inexpensive, quick door security solutions – it is important to resist the temptation to install door barricade devices in public places, like our schools. While the intention of these additional devices is to give an add a layer of security, they have the potential to enable bullying, harassment, or much worse when added to public spaces.”
I often hear from iDigHardware readers who are having these conversations in schools they work with, or where their children or grandchildren go to school. While classroom barricade devices may seem like a good idea at first glance, it’s important to look at the potential problems with using security methods that do not comply with the model codes or the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Michele’s video and blog post are valuable tools to use during those discussions, and there are many others that are available on the School Security page of iDigHardware. To learn more about school safety and get involved with safety discussions at your school, check out the Parents for Safe Schools Program, introduced in this blog post by the co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, Alissa Parker.