An article from the Courthouse News crossed my desk a few days ago, and it has me scratching my head. In a nutshell, the Lenox Massachusetts school district has filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Building Code Appeals Board, the town of Lenox, and the local building inspector.
Why? Because the school bought barricade devices that are not compliant with the Massachusetts building code or fire code (or the US model codes or the ADA).
The article references the ALICE Training Institute – basically saying that ALICE prefers barricading to locking devices, and the school district came to the conclusion that using a barricade device is preferable to ALICE’s recommendation to barricade with furniture. The article also references the PASS white paper, but makes it sound like the reason to avoid barricade devices is to avoid “butting heads with the local building code.”
This is INSANITY! This is yet another example of seeking to remove the safety protocols of the adopted codes, in order to prioritize security at a perceived lower cost. In other states, this exact situation – buying classroom barricade devices and then finding out they weren’t code-compliant – has led to state legislation seeking to modify the codes. When this type of legislation is successful, it makes it impossible for building inspectors and fire marshals to do their jobs – enforcing the codes that keep building occupants safe.