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Uvalde shooting highlights role of doors in security plans_freckle removal body

2022-08-09 08:16:52 Form:Technology freckle - professional freckle author: click:370
KATHLEEN FOODY and CAROLYN THOMPSON·5 min read

Doors – both the one the gunman entered and the one police did not open for over an hour – have been at the center of the investigation into the killing of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and the police response to the massacre.

School officials under pressure to balance accessibility and safety confront a variety of decisions about the seemingly mundane act of going in and out of a building or classroom. But as the attack on Robb Elementary School showed, such choices can sometimes spell the difference between life and death.

State police initially said the gunman entered through an exterior door that had been propped open by a teacher. But a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said Tuesday that the teacher closed the door after realizing a shooter was on campus, but it did not lock as it should have.

Inside the school, officers waited for more than an hour to breach the classroom, and state authorities have blamed the head of the school district’s small police department for wrongly believing children were no longer at risk. Officials said a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team used a janitor’s key to unlock the classroom door and kill the gunman.

State and federal panels charged with reviewing individual mass shootings have repeatedly advised limiting access to school buildings by locking exterior doors, forcing visitors to enter through a secure door and requiring teachers to lock classrooms while classes are in session.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency tells districts that they may be able to delay an intruder by keeping exterior doors locked when they are not being monitored by staff. But schools will still need to ensure that employees "adhere to policies mandating that all exterior doors remain closed outside of student arrival and dismissal times.”

In its latest guidance, updated in February, the agency also wrote that districts should consider whether measures such as automatic locks on classroom doors could hinder emergency responders.

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