Illinois Senate Approves Bill to Let Schools Add Safety Barricades to Classroom Doors
April 15, 2019
The bill is a common-sense change to the law which allows schools to implement safety barricades inside the classroom to protect students and staff in an Emergency Lockdown/Active Shooter event.
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Springfield, Illinois. (WICS/WRSP) — A bill that would allow schools to add extra safety mechanisms to classroom doors made it through the Illinois Senate Friday.
The measure would let schools add extra lock mechanisms to doors - something that right now, is illegal.
"For us as a state to tell these people, 'No, no, no, you can't do that,' are you serious?'" Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said. "This is what our police are telling us to do and what they're training to do and yet the State Board of Education and the State Fire Marshal's Office says you can't do that."
Rose is sponsoring the bill.
He said it's a common-sense change to the law to let schools decide what safety measures are best for their classrooms.
"You're never going to stop everything," Rose said. "We know that. Anybody who is crazy and intent, where there's a will, there's an unfortunate way, to the extent which we can provide any additional protection. That ought to be the goal. "
The lock mechanisms the bill would approve would lock from inside the classroom, making it much harder to enter than a classic door lock would.
"It's actually just a steel plate that goes at the bottom of the door and prevents the door from opening," Rose said.
One thing law enforcement and fire officials are hesitant about in this bill is the fact that it adds an extra barrier if there were to be an emergency.
"We're in favor of any bill to help protect our children better, however, we also need to be aware that there could be other secondary concerns based off the first one," Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said. "In this case, the state fire marshal has concerns about the kid's safety if there was a fire in the schools. So it's something we want to continue to talk about and we'll work closely with the legislature and with the state fire marshal to ensure that we have the proper equipment added to the schools."
If this bill does become law, schools would have to give police and fire officials tools to open the locks if they request them.
Illinois would be the fourth state in the Midwest to allow these types of barricades to be used in lockdown situations.
The others are Kansas, Michigan and Ohio.
Several states leave it up to local districts to decide their security plans.
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