Are “Hardening” Locks Necessary?

The front of North Forsyth High School is a largely populated high school with a few set protocols to protect students and faculty.

The front of North Forsyth High School is a largely populated high school with a few set protocols to protect students and faculty.

Marvin Cruz, Staff Writer

Student safety and school security have always been a big concern, but most security companies began with slow sales towards schools. This changed back in February, after a former student shot and killed 15 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This outrage caused a new surge of gun control advocacy and led to schools becoming more focused on student safety. Security companies such as NetTalon and other nonprofits have come up with the idea of “hardening” locks for doors. Hardening locks are designed to make it so if a shooter attempted to destroy the door, the doors would instead be more solid against the bullets and be less likely to break. These bullet-resistant locks are too expensive for most schools. The industry has helped Congress draft a law, committing $350 million dollars to the development of the these devices and give them to schools. Nearly 20 states have come up with another $450 million, and many U.S. schools are trying to rework budgets to fit enough money to put in these special locks.

These hardening locks are for the safety of students and schools, and almost everyone can support something like this in order to keep people safe. But I for one believe that these locks pose a sort of “challenge” in the sense that they can just as easily be viewed as an obstacle to work around in an emergency. There’s not much research on whether or not these inventions will actually save lives, but all that I can see coming from this is a challenge being shown to almost everyone.

I asked a few students about their stances regarding whether or not they support the doors and inventions being placed around school. When asked about their opinion on all of these inventions being placed in schools, students responded mostly neutral Junior Mary Bange responded, “I am in support. I don’t think it will make school shootings a trend, but [it will] perhaps make safety at school a trend. Special locks wouldn’t encourage anyone to commit a crime.” And while she holds a fair belief in supporting these, not everyone agrees. Junior Grace Gazaway responded, “I believe that this is a good idea but some people might also see it as a challenge. Some people are not deterred by something like this and will just see it as an obstacle to overcome. It’s a great concept but some people might not care that those locks are in place.”

In the end, while these hardening locks are a good idea, they also pose a challenge of power and might even encourage some people to try harder to win over these locks.