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Opinion

REPORT: Uvalde Classrooms Could Not Be Locked from Inside

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In the aftermath of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, America is getting a rather grim look at the circumstances that led to the prolonging of the tragedy, and they are not liking what they are seeing.

First and foremost, the police response to the active shooter situation was completely incorrect based on what law enforcement has decided is the best practice:  Immediately confronting the shooter.  Instead, Uvalde police remained outside of the school building, or, for those who did enter, remained un-engaged and distant from the danger for nearly an hour.

But there are other concerns that we must now address, including a common issue found in schools all across our nation:  The classrooms cannot be locked from the inside.

Despite billions of dollars that have been poured into hardening schools nationally, 1 in 4 U.S. public schools lack classroom doors that can be locked from the inside, according to a survey conducted two years ago by the National Center on Education Statistics, a federal research office.

The Lone Star State was particularly affected by this issue.

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The safety feature is missing in much of Texas: 36% of the state’s schools said they did not have interior-locking doors in the majority of their classrooms, according to a 2018 survey commissioned by Gov. Greg Abbott. Outdated locks are especially common in older school buildings that haven’t been renovated, industry representatives said.

The issues at Robb Elementary could create opportunities for danger.

Built in the 1960s, Robb Elementary had classroom doors that could only be locked and unlocked from the outside, according to state authorities and the teacher. She spoke to NBC News on the condition that she not be named, because she is not ready to talk publicly about her experiences on May 24, when a gunman opened fire inside a pair of conjoined classrooms, killing 19 children and two teachers.

The Robb Elementary teacher and her colleagues had been instructed to keep their classroom doors closed and locked at all times, using keys that they were required to carry with them, she said. But that system created frequent opportunities for mistakes: Each time she and her class returned from lunch or from the bathroom, she said, she had to use her key to unlock the door handle — and hope that she remembered to relock it again before going back inside.

A more thorough set of reports regarding the Uvalde massacre is expected to reach the public in the coming weeks, potentially describing even more tragic circumstances to the nation at large.

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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.




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