OPINION: Locked Door Policy Not The Answer?

OPINION: Locked Door Policy Not The Answer?


If you take a quick stroll around RHS, you’ll notice that nearly every classroom door has a bright yellow paper taped to it that reads “Classroom Doors are to remain LOCKED at all times.” These posters are a reminder for staff to follow Roseville’s new “Locked Door Policy,” a policy that although created with good intentions, when in practice, might as well not exist.

In response to the school shootings happening across the country, RHS implemented this new rule in order to make our classrooms and school as a whole a safer place to be. The policy requires that all teachers lock their doors at the beginning of each class period, and to keep it locked during each period. In addition to that, some teachers opt to use magnetic window blockers to prevent anyone from peeking into the classroom.

It seems fine enough, but when a student, faculty member, or anyone needs or wants to enter a classroom, they only have to knock to get let in, and they will always get let in, either by the teacher or a student. Imagine that! A policy designed to keep people out of the classrooms doesn’t actually make it harder to get in! Doesn’t that sound a little counter-productive, and maybe a little bit dangerous? I can’t guarantee that I speak for everyone when I say that it makes us feel at least a little unsafe.

If you sit closest to the door in your classroom, you’re normally the one that opens the door for anyone that wants or needs to get let in. In my second period class, I sit in this position, and it’s a little scary every time I need to open the door. It’s probably just another student or teacher, but the fact that I won’t know until the door is wide open is terrifying. Even if I can see their faces, the situation isn’t much better.

The fact that some teachers have their magnetic window blocker up too is like a slap in the face. I already can’t tell who’s who, so having this black wall between us doesn’t help. Sure, I could just take it down temporarily to see, but what does that do? If I don’t recognize the person, then nothing changes. If I do though, then great! I can let them in knowing that the class is going to be perfectly fine once they’re inside.

Of the four classes I have at the moment, not a single one of them has the policy executed in quite the same way. In the second period where I have to open the door, it happens to be the “block the window, open for whoever knocks” method, where I sit close enough to the door to open it for anyone. A couple times I’ve considered not opening the door at all, taking down the magnetic blocker for a while, and even putting up the lock-block to save me the effort of opening the door.

One day I had to let in someone who ended up being a staff member. After getting in, he asked me “What would you have done if I was a bad guy?”

I don’t remember what I told him, and I don’t want to have to think about what would’ve happened that day if he was a “bad guy”.

The way that the locked door policy is currently carried out by teachers makes it completely ineffective as the safety precaution that it’s supposed to be. I believe that what we’re doing here is the equivalent of hiding under our desks to protect ourselves from nuclear bombs. Either we need to execute the policy better so that it actually has any benefit, or we ditch it for something else that’ll actually keep us safe.