Door hardware is complex, and this is one of the reasons some schools have considered purchasing classroom barricade devices, even though most of these devices are not compliant with model building codes, fire codes, or accessibility standards.  In addition, many retrofit security devices could be deployed by an unauthorized person to secure a classroom, and some can not be released from the outside by an authorized person with a key.  Despite these drawbacks, it can be tempting to purchase these devices which are often available on the internet, are easy to understand, and simple to install.

Most classroom doors are already equipped with locksets, but the lock function may not be ideal for today’s security needs.  For example, the traditional classroom function requires the teacher to open the door and insert a key in the outside lever, which could expose the teacher to danger.  What many people don’t realize is that existing lock functions can be changed in the field to a more suitable function – often at a lower cost than purchasing security devices that are not compliant with the model codes.

The video below demonstrates how to change the function on a mortise lock using a conversion kit.  These kits are available from several manufacturers, for cylindrical locks as well as mortise locks.  Changing the function does not void the warranty or fire door listing, and the modified locksets allow the teacher to lock the door from the inside without opening it, as well as providing free egress with one releasing operation and meeting all other applicable code requirements.  Some conversion kits include an indicator to clearly show whether the lock is locked or unlocked.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?



  • For more information on classroom security, read Decoded: Classroom Security Considerations.
  • The PASS position paper is a comprehensive document outlining concerns about classroom barricade devices.
  • This data sheet covers conversion kits to change lock functions for mortise and cylindrical locks.  Current list pricing for these kits starts at $103 for the cylindrical lock and $108 for the mortise lock.

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