Proposed bill would add door locks inside New York schools

Local News

Should your child’s school be required to have locks on every single classroom door?

Some state lawmakers thing so. Most schools now have regular emergency response drills and employ armed and unarmed security guards.

But a new bill would add door locks to the list.          

“I think it’s absolutely a good thing,” said Gate Chili Superintendent Kimberle Ward.

She’s in favor of the newly proposed legislation aimed at adding security measures at schools throughout the state. Her only worry, the costs of implementing.

“My concern is how are we going to pay for it?” said Ward, “We’ve looked at replacing those lock systems on our doors and it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.”    

The proposal focuses on adding locks to the inside and outside of every door in every school building throughout the state, something both law enforcement officials and parents I spoke with were in favor of.

“Little steps like that, like the ability to lock those doors as quickly as possible to put those delay mechanisms in between themselves and the shooter is really what we’re looking for,” said Chief Deputy Michael Fowler of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“I think it’s wonderful actually. I was at the Wemoco in Spencerport the other day and I found out how tight the security was and it was tough for me just to get in and talk to anybody and I can imagine double installation on security, it’s amazing,” said Gregory Wansha.

Ward says the Gates Chili Central School District has done a good job of staying up to date with their current security measures but would need time to move forward with the proposed changes.

“We would have some work to do around that in terms of making sure that all of our doors have lock systems that are able to be locked from the inside and outside,” said Ward.

The bill was introduced in the New York State Assembly two weeks ago so it still has a long way to go.

There’s no word whether the legislature will take it up when it resumes session in January.

Response from Churchville-Chili superintendent

We believe our district, as well as others in Monroe County, already have many of these items in place.  However, it is always concerning when a bill is proposed as a mandate without any funding being allocated to help districts meet these expectations, which results in our communities finding it through the local school budget.
At Churchville-Chili, we currently have secure locks on classroom doors and instructional spaces, lock all exterior doors and require visitors to enter a secure location to be checked-in, and have their ID scanned into our Raptor Security System prior to entering any other part of the facility. We utilize shatter proof safety film in several areas the district. We meet several times a year with law enforcement and first responders to share maps and review emergency plans for all of our buildings. We also have security cameras in all of our schools and a central monitoring location for all of them.
The proposed new items to further investigate and define would be the “public bleeding control equipment” and using specialized professionals to train those untrained bystanders to become immediate responders. 
Currently all districts have a safety plan that is updated and shared with the state each year. These plans include the items listed in 2 d-k. 
Any equipment or other safety features not already owned or in place in a district would need to be purchased through capital projects or through the local school budget based on the extent of the requirement.  Funds should be included in the proposed legislation when new requirements are writen as mandates.

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