Can we lock our classroom doors during school hours?

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There are many reasons why you may wish to lock your school classroom doors during the school day.  And there are just as many reasons why you shouldn’t. If you have read the article “Is lockable door hardware required on school classroom doors?” then you may already know that all new construction is going to require locks.

But this question always raises the big red flag for me.  Why do you need to lock your doors on a regular basis on a school campus?  Sexual molestation questions come to mind immediately.  The short answer is yes, you can lock your classroom doors, as long as, the following regulations are met:

First, you comply with Title 8, Cal-OSHA, on emergency egress – single action exits, meaning you cannot be required to put a key in the lock to unlock the door to escape during a fire. There must be a single action (crash bar) that allows you to exit.

Secondly, you must comply with Title 19 and Title 24, and ADA for emergency egress.  Again, you cannot block, lock or otherwise obstruct the door when you need to exit.

While AB 211 implemented Education Code Section 17075.50 which requires school locks to be made available on new construction, it does not require that the doors are locked at all times.  The idea behind this Bill was that during lockdown situations, teachers and staff did not have the ability to lock a classroom door without having to step outside to do so.  In this scenario, an intruder on campus would be able to ambush a teacher and take control of a classroom – clearly something all risk managers are concerned about.

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