Some types of classroom barricade devices may impede egress, prevent access by emergency responders, and violate the ADA. Most classroom doors already have locks. Use them.

On Tuesday I wrote a follow-up post about a Michigan law that will allow classroom barricade devices to be used on doors serving assembly spaces (like gymnasiums, cafeterias, and theaters) in addition to classrooms.  When the media publicizes the use of non-code-compliant security in a particular school district or jurisdiction, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that this must be a good idea.  It’s not.

Andy Lindenberg of Allegion sent me the memo below, from the New York State Education Department.  This document was sent to all school superintendents and other school administrators in the state, clearly outlining the policies for the state’s schools and the reasons for the education department’s position.  Suggested solutions are included as well, and on the third page there is a link to the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) page for resources related to classroom barricade devices.

When looking at the policies for these two states – Michigan and New York – the difference between the two is striking.  In Michigan, the state legislative process seems to have overridden the adopted state building code and fire code, and the accessibility standards – including the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  The security solutions allowed in New York schools are compliant with the adopted codes and standards, including the ADA.  Is safety less important in one state than the other?  Are egress, fire protection, and accessibility more important in one state than the other?  Why are these states’ policies so different?

I hope you will read the memo below and refer to it as an example of how to properly balance school safety and security.  Code-compliant locks are readily available, and it is not necessary to compromise safety or accessibility in favor of security.  Lock the door.  Period.

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