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Senate bill would let schools add better locks to defend against potential shooters

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – A Utah Senator is hoping his bill would give educators more of a fighting chance against a potential school shooter.  Some school district officials say they like the flexibility the bill would give if it passes.

Senator Todd Weiler says he started drafting SB 87 after a concerned father wanted to put locks on individual classroom doors of his daughter’s school, but, was told installing those particular locks would violate fire state fire code.  “The school districts are handcuffed by the state law. So, I’m trying to take those handcuffs off,” he says.

Weiler says he’s seen some locks that can be opened by police or fire crews from the outside if necessary.  Emergency officials in other states highly recommend them.  However, the decision on whether or not the locks would be installed would be up to the school districts.

The debate on whether or not the locks should be installed could become quite heated, according to Weiler.  He says there are some parents who could be completely against them.  He says, “The concern on the flip side is, ‘What if a sexual predator gets inside and then locks the door and now he has unfettered access to the children and nobody can get in?’”

That’s a concern shared by some representatives of the Granite School District.  Spokesman Ben Horsley says, “That’s something that’s always in the back of our minds as we evaluate any type of security enhancement.”

Currently, there are locks on individual classrooms in the Granite School District, according to Horsley.  However, he says the district would like having the options of adding new safety measures to keep a shooter away from children.  “We feel comfortable with the type of lock-down protocols and security measures we already have in place, but, those are always being enhanced and improved,” Horsley says.