Illinois schools now have the freedom to secure classrooms from intruders by using low-cost, simple, and effective locking mechanisms, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) that was recently signed into law by the governor.
“This is a win-win, schools can safely secure classrooms against intruders in a much more cost-effective-manner, which in turn will allow them to be able to add more security enhancements to their buildings,” said Rose. “This is another example of local leaders working together for the betterment of their schools and the safety of their students.”
Senate Bill 1371 allows school districts to use door-locking mechanisms that attach to the door and are lockable and unlockable from the inside of the classroom. The mechanisms must be unlockable from the outside by a key or tool given to police and fire departments so they can continue to act to protect those barricaded inside.
Senate Bill 1371 was proposed by former Tuscola Superintendent Michael Smith. Rose worked with Smith, along with Regional Office of Education (ROE) Superintendent for Champaign and Ford Counties Gary Lewis (who also served as Oakwood Superintendent), ROE #11 Superintendent Kyle Thompson, Salt Fork Superintendent Phil Cox, and the Office of the State Fire Marshall on the bill.
“SB1371 addresses the biggest concern school districts face on a daily basis, which is student and staff safety. As a superintendent there isn't a moment where I'm not thinking about ways we can better protect our students. This bill championed by Senator Chapin Rose is another step forward in allowing our schools to be safer. It not only allows schools to take necessary steps to keep out intruders and active shooters, but the locking devices we can now purchase and install are financially feasible which will benefit taxpayers,” said Tuscola Superintendent Dr. Michael Smith. “On behalf of my students, staff, and community, we truly appreciate Senator Rose's help in this effort.”
“I would like to thank our local leaders for their good ideas and hard work in getting this passed and signed into law,” said Rose.