On July 12, NBC News published an article highlighting a basic security feature that is lacking in more than a quarter of all schools across the country—classroom doors that can be locked from the inside.
We at the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI), an association serving more than 5,000 door security and safety professionals in the non-residential construction industry, and the Door Security & Safety Foundation (DSSF), who advocate on behalf of these knowledgeable experts, strongly affirm that no one should ever have to step in harm’s way to ensure the safety of others or the security of a door. We know that classroom door locks that are lockable by key from inside the room are a critical line of defense in an active shooter or lockdown situation, and that the experts we serve can make the difference when it comes to a possible life and death situation.
DHI members encompass design and construction experts, building code officials, local code experts, and professionals in the commercial door and hardware industry. They possess the technical knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to effectively balance life safety and security.
According to a 2015 report by the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, doors that lock from the inside are most effective in securing classrooms, and to date, no active shooter has breached a locked classroom door. The report supports DHI’s recommendation that schools should elect to install door hardware that is code compliant and industry-tested.
In recent weeks, many states have called for legislation seeking to examine, report, and resolve school safety measures, specifically pertaining to doors and locks. As the leading bodies representing and advocating for experts in the field, DHI and DSSF encourage school districts to work with door safety and security professionals in adopting safety and security protocols, and implementing best industry practices for door and hardware solutions, as detailed in the DHI School Security and Safety Policy Principles. We also advise schools to use guidelines developed by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) when developing their school safety plans.
Consulting a door security and safety professional should be a basic requirement to ensure school safety. We encourage door and hardware professionals within the industry to join our efforts in amplifying this message by:
- Utilizing DHI’s Ambassador Toolkit—consisting of talking points, sample social media posts, a Letter to the Editor template, relevant statistics, and links to valuable assets and resources—to help raise awareness of the door and hardware industry and its professionals.
- Using key messages outlined in the DHI School Security and Safety Policy Principles to draft a letter to local school board members, the local Parent Teachers Association (PTA), and school district leadership. We recommend using the Letter to the Editor template, included in the Ambassador Toolkit, to help craft your letter.
- Focusing your message on proven best practices related to life safety and security as it pertains to doors and hardware, rather than any perceived failures.
- Communicating to stakeholders that you are available to consult in and assist with the decision-making process, knowing that they may be presented with numerous solutions in the aftermath of recent tragedies.