Safety First

The practice of locking classroom doors has continued into the current school year

by Jaymeson Frey, Reference Manager

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  • A staff member in the school can open the flap on the box, and use their finger to alert the school of an intruder in the building. Faculty only has access, students and outsiders do not.

  • Some of the faculty here cover their latches with post-it notes, but every teacher has their own way as to how they cover their latch.

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The school district introduced SafeDefend boxes in late 2019 to be used in cases of emergency. Shortly after the boxes were installed, teachers were asked to begin keeping their classroom doors locked during the school day.

“The practice of keeping classroom doors closed is a recommendation that came from our District Safety and Security Committee. Through research and best [safety] practices, it became clear that keeping doors closed and readily available to be locked [instantly] needed to be a priority in our District,” Superintendent Jason Sefrit said. 

Teachers were provided magnetic strips to prevent their door from closing all the way, but some teachers are in rooms with wooden door frames, rather than metal frames, so they had to get creative with their latches.

“I use a note card and some masking tape; it works well, flips easily, and doesn’t need replacing more than weekly,” English teacher Tori Ramsey said.

The note cards are commonly used throughout the English department.

“My door is a little janky, so it usually props itself open,” English teacher Katlyn Ashmann said, “but I sometimes tape a small note card over the plate. I like to keep my door like this because I can easily lock it quickly without having to get my keys out anytime I want the door shut. It’s also safer this way because it’s so much faster to move it from the open prop to the shut lock.” 

Not every teacher uses magnets or note cards; some came up with their own creative ways.

“I was originally using the magnet provided, but the magnet kept getting bent, falling off. So in my head, I’m like ‘that’s not gonna work,’” Foreign Language teacher Laura Lopez-Reese said. “Having the security is very important because I also do drills with my students for intruder or active shooter and so one day I just thought to Velcro this piece of felt inside and outside.” 

This is all part of an overall safety plan, with the doors being locked, schools also began getting SafeDefend boxes installed.

“The SafeDefend system and the closing of doors were both parts of the District Safety and Security Committee initiative to keep our schools safe,” Sefrit said. “The timing was planned to ensure that best practices were in place throughout the schools. SafeDefend training reinforced the importance of closing doors.”

There are some teachers who forget to lock their door, or don’t due to the fact that they have a lot of foot traffic in and out of their rooms.

“This is a District-wide safety guideline that is expected, but there are no punitive measures for staff,” Sefrit said. “The ‘why’ behind the decision is to keep our staff and students as safe as possible during the school day.”