Uvalde School Shooting: Houston-area School Districts and Experts Speak Out on Safety Regarding Locked Classroom Door Policies

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Last week, law enforcement in Uvalde initially said the gunman broke into Robb Elementary School after a teacher grabbed her cellphone from her car and left a door open.

Texas DPS now says that was not the case. You now say that the teacher closed the door, but it is not locked.

This comes as a Washington Post report shared the account of a Robb elementary school student who says the gunman pulled on the doorknob to his classroom but was unable to get in, making the point that locked doors are key to survival in the active Life can be shooter situations.

Uvalde CISD has a policy that states teachers must have their classroom doors closed and locked at all times.

“It could protect in those cases where we couldn’t give the lock code for a split second, but then the classroom doors are already locked,” explained Keith Butcher, a former teacher, principal and superintendent and current clinical assistant professor the University of Houston.

Butcher explains the importance of schools having up-to-date safety plans and actually putting those plans into action.

“If there’s one suggestion, one recommendation I have for educators, is that we have our policies and we need to have heightened awareness at all times to make sure those policies and procedures are being followed,” Butcher said.

Butcher says schools must do everything they can to improve safety but says they will need help.

“We need social changes. We need legislative changes that will help support schools’ efforts to keep children safe. It can’t all be applied to schools,” Butcher said.

Regarding local counties’ policies on locked classroom doors, both Fort Bend ISD and Conroe ISD say they have policies that require classroom doors to be locked during the school day.

Not answering our specific question about locked classroom doors, Katy ISD released the following statement:

The safety and welfare of all Katy ISD students and staff is of paramount importance on every campus in the district. Katy ISD implements all safety practices and policies recommended by the Texas School Safety Center. This includes mandatory safety drills and training, contingency plans for all campuses, and regular Texas Education Code safety reviews.

Our area’s largest district, HISD, referred us to their current guidelines, issued in 2009. It states that classrooms with doors that open outwards should always be locked. The policy does not specifically mention classroom doors to interior corridors.

HISD issued a statement late in the afternoon saying the district had an “ordinance related to safe classrooms,” but didn’t elaborate on what that means.

The full statement from HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez is as follows:

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. The HISD police and school administrators on campus constantly monitor the campus throughout the day to ensure that the doors leading in and out of the building are securely locked and not kept open. HISD has a regulation related to safe classrooms. Lockdown drills are held annually to practice established procedures in the event of a lockdown, including locking the classroom door.

Cy-Fair ISD and Crosby ISD did not respond to our inquiries on Tuesday.

For more updates, follow Courtney Carpenter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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https://abc13.com/school-safety-locked-classroom-door-expert-uvalde-shooting/11913507/ Uvalde School Shooting: Houston-area School Districts and Experts Speak Out on Safety Regarding Locked Classroom Door Policies

Dais Johnston

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