Keeping Schools Safe with the Right Locks

Keeping Schools Safe with the Right Locks

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Locksmith

Keeping Schools Safe with the Right Locks

Keeping Schools Safe with the Right Locks

The need for the right locks on school buildings became all too evident following the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado. Since that time, other school-related shootings have occurred, including at Sandy Hook Elementary. Many years ago, no one worried about the safety of children at school, but today, things are significantly different.

Due to the increase in shootings and other violent events at schools, administrators are taking big steps to keep children and teachers safe. In addition to better school configurations, special training programs, regular drills, and, in some schools, detection devices, most schools safe have changed the types of locks being used.

While no single solution has been adopted by schools, most have found viable options. For the most part, schools have turned to what they believe to be the best measure of security. Through conferences, forums, social media networks, and even government agencies, schools have shared their successes and failures.

Changed Locks

Access, regardless of form, starts with door hardware. Some of the new locks that have been added in schools include the following:

  • Control Cards – Although control card lock systems require an individual to have an actual card, these are easier to carry than keys, and if misplaced or lost, card access can be changed immediately. The system for control cards also creates a report whereby school administrators can identify times of people coming and going, see specific areas of the school where certain people went, and more.

  • Biometrics – With a biometric reader, the system identifies a person based on a part of the body, usually a fingerprint, palm print, or eye. If the system confirms the individual, the door opens. Biometrics is great for schools because the systems are convenient, reliable, and secure. The only downside is the cost to have biometric systems installed.

Mechanical Locks

Another solution implemented by many schools is mechanical locks. These are available in four primary options: mortise, spring-bolt, cylinder, and deadbolt.

  • Mortise – For a mortise lock to be installed, a recess is cut into the door in which the lock is fitted. These locks are extremely strong, but because a small portion of the door is cut out, there is some degree of weakening of the door.

  • Spring-Bolt – The lock is spring-loaded with an angled edge so when a door is pushed closed, the edge of the latch bolt allows for retraction. After the door closes, the spring engages, followed by the bolt being fully extended to hold the door closed.

  • Cylinder – Cylinder locks work great in schools because they are strong, they can be changed without the bolt work hardware being altered, and they come in a variety of formats. The only real drawback is that cylinder locks are prone to lock snapping, which means when a significant amount of force is applied, the lock can snap.

  • Deadbolt – Of all locks used in homes, businesses, and schools, the deadbolt offers the best security. To compromise a door with a deadbolt is extremely difficult, making this a top choice for most schools.


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