We recently surveyed a school campus and found that the locking mechanisms on the individual classroom doors were bypassed by placing a magnetic strip across the door strike. When questioned, we were told this was done at the direction of the principal in an attempt to minimize disruption to the class when students left and returned. Of course, the concern with this practice is how easily the individual classroom can be accessed during an active shooter event.
Our Crisis Coverage partner, Beazley, put together the attached document highlighting the New Commissioner’s Rules in Texas for Enhanced School Safety Measures. These rules were recently implemented by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and went into effect on May 31, 2023. The new rules do not specifically address interior doors. However, it is considered a “best practice” that all classroom doors be locked when students are in the classroom. As a result of this, when we conduct these surveys and find unlocked classroom doors, we will be making the following recommendation:
Classroom Doors – Blocking Doors Open
To ensure a safe learning environment for all students and staff, all classrooms/instructional areas will be closed and locked during the instructional day. No devices shall be used to circumvent the door locking mechanism, including; magnets, door stops, wedges, etc. The requirement is inclusive of and shall apply to all classrooms. Historical data and consistent observation by first responders on active shooters suggest that a locked classroom door is a proven life-saving strategy. Keeping classroom doors locked during instruction has proven to be a time barrier. While this may create an inconvenience if students are late or need to re-enter a classroom for other reasons, it provides an essential layer of protection against intruders.