Mar 11

Safety Hinges on Education

As with anyone tackling the current issue of security in our schools, I write this post with a heavy heart.   However, as part of the building industry, I feel I would be derelict in my role as an educator not to continue the call to action with the mission of keeping our children safe.

We have all heard that necessity is the mother of invention.  It was such tragedies as the Iroquois Theatre (1903) & Coconut Grove (1942) fires that were the catalysts for new fire and life safety products and codes to create safer building environments.

Yet these fires were not deliberate acts of violence, unlike what is happening in schools to our most innocent and vulnerable citizens.   What effect will the recent Sandy Hook tragedy have on the construction industry?

It was sad to discover, while researching for this article, that school shootings are not a part of our modern day history.   On July 26, 1764 four Lenape American Indians entered the Pontiac’s Rebellion school and shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and then killed nine or ten children.  Follow this link to see a history of US school shootings.  I found it shocking.

The Columbine High School massacre in 1999 is probably the most imprinted school shooting in our memories.  The invention of the classroom intruder lock function was a direct consequence of that event.  Thirteen years later and the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT happened.  How is it that the classroom intruder function has been around for at least eight of those years and yet it is not specified nor installed on every single classroom door?

Most people are familiar with entry locksets on their homes. There is a button to either push or turn to secure the lock.  Unlike the entry function, a classroom function requires a key to secure the lockset, traditionally from the exterior side of the door.   This was designed to ensure that students could not lock the teacher out of the classroom.  The process of stepping out of the classroom into the hall to insert a key in order to secure the lock is not a desirable task to do if there is a gunman on the loose.

The Classroom Intruder function allows the lock to be secured from inside or outside the classroom.


Safety hinges on education, we need to make sure that everyone…from architects, design builders, contractors, door & hardware distributors, installers, school boards, school professionals, maintenance staff, parents and even students are aware that these locks exist and are essential to keeping our children safe.

During the coming months I am sure there will be many new innovative products emerging.  Stay engaged, stay aware, stay informed and most importantly use your voice if you see something not being done to keep your child safe.




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