Lets Work Together and Protect Our Children
Organized by: Steven Haynes
MY name is Steven E. Haynes and for the last 12 plus years I have worked as an independent Security Consultant (Texas DPS-PSB C18833) and Risk Manager licensed in Texas. During this time I have conducted Risk and Vulnerability Assessments at dozens of public, private and parochial schools and colleges and universities. One common theme I encountered is a surprising and frightening inability to quickly and effectively secure classroom doors during an emergency lockdown situation. This is due to several reasons including; doors not capable of being locked; locking mechanisms on the outside of door only which requires the teacher to walk into hallway to lock and due to the teacher not being able to quickly lock the door because they cannot get to their keys fast enough.
The inability to quickly lockdown a classroom leads to the opportunity for an active shooter to obtain immediate and unrestricted access to our children and their teachers creating an emergency situation. The one single cause of the high number of fatalities in school shootings (other than the mental health of the shooters) is the inability to place a secure barrier between the shooter and the classroom occupants This has been identified time and time again in the Sandy Hook investigation, Virginia Tech shootings and dozens of other recent shootings. Many of these investigative reports cite instances where teachers, students or faculty tried to physically hold the door shut using their bodies. The majority of these instances ended unfavorably for the classroom occupants.
In response to the threefold increase in school related shootings and violence over the last few years, many stopgap measures have been identified. They include; throwing cans (or other handy objects) at the shooter, stacking furniture against the door, using armed marshals (and in some cases teachers) and attempting to lock down the school. The current most common response action in the event of a school shooter is for the classroom teacher to lock the door (if they have time and it is able to be locked), herding the children to a far corner of the room, having them sit down or lie down on the floor, turning out the lights and maintaining silence. Imagine for a moment the sheer psychological terror this situation would cause, especially in the event of a real shooter. Hearing the sound of multiple gunshots and waiting for the door to the classroom to open. This situation would scare the bejesus out an adult. Imagine how a 6 or 8 year old would feel.
School districts and higher education facilities have tried their best to improve security where and when they can do so. It is unrealistic to expect a school principal to have the knowledge and expertise to identify threats and vulnerabilities and to then know what security solutions are the best fit for their environment. They often spend $100’s of thousands of dollars on Closed Circuit Television Camera Systems even though they have many classroom doors without the proper locking mechanisms. In this day of fewer resources, the cost to purchase (not including installation costs) for an American National Standards Institute certified type F-88 door lock (the type which can be locked from either inside or outside) is approximately $325 to $350. A standard exterior only lock is around $150. The math is easy on that one.
I am of the belief that those in the industry concerned with school security have the “can’t see the forest for the trees” blindness when it comes to this area. Many companies introduce new fancier locksets (that ….you guessed it, cost even more money) periodically but no one has taken a step back and looked at changing the classroom door. This has been an institutionalized paradigm since the 1960’s.
I have talked with facility managers, school superintendents, principals, school board members, school resource officers and various law enforcement personnel about this issue and all are in agreement that a better answers than the ones we currently have are needed to address school violence.
So here goes my proposal….I have the expertise to, with professional design assistance, develop what I will call a School Sentry Secure Door for classrooms. I unfortunately, do not have the needed capital to complete the project through the development phase. This is where I’m asking for your help and support.
The funding I am requesting will be used to hire professional design engineers, draftsman to make blueprints, a Life Safety Code Specialist and a model maker to make a smaller scale model for demonstration purposes. Once this is done I’ll use an attorney to file for a patent and once I have preliminary approval I can begin to obtain support from the influential associations and groups in education by attending their conferences as a vendor and visiting with many education professionals to promote the paradigm change. Additional work includes requesting SAFETY Act designation from the Department of Homeland Security which affords liability protection from lawsuits for the design and manufacture of the door. Lastly, I plan to approach the approximately six manufacturers of classroom doors and obtain a commitment from at least one of them to manufacture and distribute the new doors. I anticipate this project can be completed in approximately 12 to 15 months.
(Additional details are included in the PowerPoint briefing provided).
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With your support, this is our chance to make a difference.