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Under proposal, schools could install barricade devices on classroom doors

MADISON (WKOW) — With school shootings occurring more often across the nation, Republican lawmakers are considering allowing barricade devices inside classrooms, but the proposal faces stiff opposition from fire personnel.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), would change the Department of Public instruction code that prevents districts from installing barricade devices. Both Republicans said during a criminal justice and public safety committee hearing they believe the idea would prevent an active shooter from entering a classroom. 

“This is being proactive, instead of reactive,” said Rep. Brooks. “When you think about an active shooter incident, teachers have been trained to barricade the doors by pilling up desks. I’m pretty sure that would violate any fire codes that I’ve ever heard of.”

Brooks said they’re exploring whether the devices would be manually wedged under a door or have an automatic alarm that locks classrooms during an active shooter incident. 

The concept faces opposition from dozens of fire departments in Wisconsin and the Office of School Safety, which operates through the Department of Justice.

They argue there’s never been an incident where a school shooter has opened a locked classroom door.

“Not during Sandy Hook, Parkland or Columbine,” said Glenn Rehberg, Deputy Director of School Safety. “We believe there are far better options than installing extra hardware with lots of potential complications on school grounds.”

Under the proposal, school districts wouldn’t be required to install these, it would have the option. Lawmakers on the criminal justice committee will vote on the bill in the next few weeks.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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