Illinois schools could soon have a new affordable and easy-to-use option for locking classrooms to prevent dangerous intruders, now that the Illinois Senate has passed legislation filed by State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). The legislation was suggested by Tuscola School Superintendent Mike Smith and supported by other superintendents in the area. Oakwood Superintendent Gary Lewis, Salt Fork Superintendent Phil Cox, and Kyle Thompson of ROE #11, met for several weeks with the State Fire Marshall and the Illinois State Board of Education on the legislation.
“This is a simple, affordable, sensible way to secure classrooms and protect students,” said Rose. “Law enforcement trains students, faculty, and staff to ‘barricade’ in the event of an immediate threat to safety from an intruder into a school. However, Illinois regulations currently prevent schools from investing in locking mechanisms that could protect our children,” he continued.
Rose’s legislation, 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.
“It is absolutely ridiculous that the existing state rules tell local schools they are not allowed to do everything they can to protect our kids during an intruder situation. Worse- the existing rules fly in the face of what law enforcement teaches and trains every day. This corrects that policy.”
The legislation is now headed to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.