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Jan 09 2019

WW: Classroom Egress

Andrew Harris of Willis Klein sent me today’s Wordless Wednesday photo, and it’s disheartening.  🙁

This is the exterior door of a middle school classroom with one or more students who have special needs, and the teacher intentionally parked there so the door could not be opened from the inside by students.  If it is a required exit from the classroom, parking a car in front of the door is obviously an egress problem.  If it is not a required exit, the AHJ should allow the door to be locked in a way that would prevent a child from leaving but would allow the teacher to unlock the door if necessary.


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16 Responses to “WW: Classroom Egress”

  1. Marty Major says:

    So this driver couldn’t have stopped two feet short of the eventual parking spot?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Marty –

      The teacher intentionally parked there so the door wouldn’t open from the inside. 🙁

      I updated the post to make that clear.

      – Lori

  2. Jeff Tock says:

    Maybe Honda has found a new use for old Civics…Barricade devices!

  3. Eric Rieckers says:

    I’m not sure what scares me more: the teacher or the administration that lets this happen. It’s too obvious for anyone else to not notice.

  4. Glenn Younger says:

    This teacher might be frustrated with trying to get a solution, students leaving the building, and this is all they have to work with.
    We are working pre-schools which have 4-5 year old IEP students that have behavioral issues and are “runners”. Because they have more exits than required we were able to work with the Fire Marshal on solutions.
    1) Installed exit alarms in all exit devices on doors that leave the building
    2) We raised the exit devices from the low height of 34″ (which works for children) to the max height of 48″. Still meets the letter of the code, but not readily workable for short children.
    3) if need be, in the future, we can take and increase the opening force on the closer. Will not meet disability or ADA but will do the containment job.
    3) We made that case that with behavioral issues, the occupancy could/ should be different. Institutional I1-I2-I3 or I4. We did not have to go down that path, but it is an option.

    • Lori says:

      Thanks for sharing your insight! In most US states (not California), adjusting the opening force for closers on exterior doors is a good option for preschools. The IBC allows up to 15 pounds to release the latch, 30 pounds to set the door in motion, and 15 pounds to open the door to the fully-open position. This will slow down most preschoolers but will still allow an adult to open the door if needed.

      – Lori

  5. Chad says:

    This is tough because you can understand the teacher’s intentions. She is wanting to prevent a child from running into danger, while yet maybe not understanding other potential dangers that could put more at risk. My son has severe autism characteristics that would create impulses in him to run into intersections unaware of consequences. Money or mismanagement of money is a problem. I had a frustrated fire code official tell me “they (elementary school) don’t have money” to pay for a delayed device. The only person that is going to stand up to that is the child’s advocate who is aware and willing to address it through code enforcement or enforcing an Individualized Education Program,IEP meeting to PROVE why you need the school to pay more to do anything other than what is defined by law (so much for Individual).

    • Lori says:

      Hi Chad –

      I definitely understand the teacher’s intentions, but it’s upsetting that the school district would put her in this position rather than finding a better solution.

      – Lori

  6. Rich McKie says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. Staff often resort to “Field Expedient” measures rather than submit a work order that will see a qualified person help solve their problem.
    In a similar situation on a High-Special Needs wing of one of our high schools we had a meeting with the local Fire Marshall and the City Building Inspector. After hearing our case they allowed us to install Delayed Egress panic bars. The bars are connected to the fire alarm allowing emergency egress but the delay gives the staff time to corral any special needs kids that try to leave on their own.
    This was not a simple installation as the doors are also operated by our card access system which allows staff to exit bypassing the time delay. The official permission required the title to be changed to reflect the exemption and this had to be signed off by the Principal and the District Superintendant. The expense of this ensured that this will only be repeated when absolutely necessary.
    BTW: This was initially done to safeguard one particular student who was a “Runner”. He was once tackled by the principal trying to run across the busy street outside the school. After the new hardware was installed he tried opening the door once and when he pushed the bar and the door didn’t open he said “Door Broken” and never tried it again. Victory! 🙂

  7. Ben Ho says:

    Someone needs to get them a chexit device….

  8. says:

    It’s an “Auto” door stop.

  9. Louise says:

    Makes me wonder what her insurance company would say to a claim when they learn about how the car was damaged by a school door slamming into the car.

  10. Michael Elia says:

    This is a very effective door stop to protect the building wall from the door and I applaud the driver’s obvious concern.

    Seriously, many of the schools we work with have issues with outsiders being let INTO the buildings by students. This could also be one of those, even though it is hazardous solution. I also don’t like any vehicles parked close to operable windows – and some codes prohibit that as well.

  11. rb says:

    I once worked a few summers at basically a horse trail-riding place in the mountains. Our overnight anti-bear device for our storage shed (gear and some dry goods storage) was to park the hay truck tightly against the doors every night. Figured if the bear could drive he’s welcome to the goods inside. Obviously not a occupied building.

  12. Dave says:

    Un-popular opinion:

    “There, but for the grace of GOD go I …”
    That being said:

    It is unfortunate that so many schools must each come up with extra funding so that many schools can all separately fix exceptional egress issues required by some students only passing though (that one classroom perhaps) for a year or 1/2 year, so they may be integrated into main stream schools.

    Alternatively, students with special needs may be with other special-needs students in schools setup for these exceptional circumstance.
    Funding may be focused in that school for their unique needs, and staff with specialized training as such.
    We could fund special door hardware for example, a in a few schools instead of all of them.

    We once had a few schools in my area for the deaf, they are gone and replaced by vanity 2nd language schools.
    So we have separate special schools, not taboo.

    In a local school division, they followed a student who had very-low functioning abilities through his/her school years through the various schools (elementary, Jr.High, Senior High), and put multi-thousand $ elevators into each one for this one student.
    In 2-3 years this student moved to another school, another elevator.
    Why they didnt move all his/her classes to the main floor, that wasn’t acceptable, IDK.
    The elevator investments killed funding in each school for other things each school really needed.
    The admin & maintenance staff told me so.
    The elevators are not to be used by staff or students, except for special-needs clients use.
    The student has gone, & there they sit restricted and unused.

    An other school de-allocated a very area of class rooms (moved cinder block walls etc.) to make a very large spa/therapy room including hot-tub/Jacuzzi, exercise equipment and was used only for that one student and after a year he/she left to a different school division.
    It will cost money to change it back plus the lost investment of new/used equipment no longer required, no longer new.
    Although the school was obligated to make the changes, the student was under no obligation to stay, and that is the way.

    I have seen staff do risky things as pictured before, and the needs of the one puts everyone at risk.

    School taxes can’t keep going up & up to pay for everyone’s dream of what “should be” a universal equality experience.
    We do not ask parents of special needs program recipients to contribute more, we just don’t.
    But, there is only one tax-payer, and I need some of what I make to pay my own bills, otherwise I go from contributor to welfare recipient.

    Just saying…

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