A Simpler Solution to School Violence Prevention: Lock the Doors


Several St. Louis-area school districts are installing locks on classroom doors after the Newtown, Ct., shootings, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In the debate over how to keep schools safe, with solutions ranging from arming teachers and principals to banning military-style assault weapons, classroom locks would seem like a simple step. Administrators believe changing something as simple as the locks can make a difference. Some of the surviving students and teachers in Newtown, hid in locked classrooms during the shooting rampage. “It's a new paradigm after what happened” in Newtown, said Eric Cochran, director of curriculum and student programs for Lindbergh, Mo., schools. “The first conversation we had was, 'What can we do immediately to make sure our kids are as safe as possible?'”

New hardware comes with a price tag. The project is estimated to cost more than $200,000 for the two schools in the Lindbergh district without classroom “intruder locks” already. Hazelwood officials are assessing how much it might cost to change classroom locks at 32 schools and early childhood centers. Paul Fennewald of the Missouri Center for Education Safety said that, in the case of an intruder, the best scenario is if a teacher can lock his or her classroom door quickly without stepping into the hall, then cover windows to the classroom and hide with students. “It all takes money,” Fennewald said. “That's not possible in most schools.”

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