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Barricades potentially a requirement for schools during emergencies

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Earlier this year, parents raised $30,000 for a Southwest Licking school district to buy barricades for schools in Ohio in order to protect students more against dangerous intruders. However, local authorities and the State Board of Building Appeals rejected the idea on February 23, citing safety concerns, resulting in an uproar from parents.

In support of the parents, Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson,  and Rep. Heather Bishoff, D-Blacklick, introduced House Bill 114, which would require schools to use barricade devices and prohibit the State Fire Code from prohibiting their use.

HB 114 would also require staff members to be trained on how to use a barricade device, which would be put on a school door and prevent entering and leaving a building or room for a finite amount of time in an emergency situation.

These barricades would not be permanently mounted to the doors and must be able to be removed with minimal steps after it is engaged.

Southwest Licking Superintendent Robert Jennell told NBC4 that he believes the barricades would improve safety in schools.

“These people who are doing these things are finding new ways to get into schools and hurting kids. We would like to have a device, a system to make our kids safer,” Jennell said.

However, Kenneth Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services, believes that HB 114 could potentially be dangerous.

“Altering state law to address one low probability risk to make people falsely feel empowered and have a sense of greater security can have unintended consequences in other areas of higher probability security risks,” Trump said in his blog.

Since 1992 there has been 387 shootings in schools and colleges combined, according to StopTheShootings.org. In the U.S., children from the ages of five to 14 are 13 times more likely to be killed with guns as children in similar countries, and 59 percent of victims are between the ages of 10 and 19.

The Ohio Department of Commerce is trying to collect information that will help the state review current code, said Matt Mullins, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Commerce, the state department that oversees the state fire marshall.

Mullins said after the data is collected, meetings will be held to examine information about current code and regulations.These changes are being examined in case the bill passes and the State Fire Code is in conflict with state law.

“The Board (of Building Standards) has scheduled a meeting on Friday, April 17 at which they will hear testimony from invited education facilities authorities, fire and public safety officials and building code professionals concerning the proposed use of various school classroom barricades,” Mullins said. “A second meeting is scheduled for June 5 at which the Board will hear testimony from the public on this issue.”

After these hearings, the Board’s Code Committee will review all pertinent information and testimony, present their findings to the Board and Commerce Director and make recommendations to the full Board regarding possible code changes.

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