The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) is scheduled to hear rules on school procedures for utilizing door barricades to protect students from an active shooter.
The budget bill, HB64 (R. Smith), directed the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Board of Building Standards (BBS) to write the rules, which include conditions for use and operational requirements.
According to the new rules, a temporary door locking device shall be used on doors under the following conditions:
– Proof is provided by the administrative authority of a school building that a school safety plan has been adopted according to the law.
– The temporary door locking device shall only be used in an emergency situation and during active shooter drills.
– The device is engaged only by a staff member of the school building.
– The device shall only be engaged for a finite period of time as determined by the administrative authority of a school building in accordance with the school safety plan.
– Proof is provided by the administrative authority of a school building that police and fire officials having jurisdiction for the school building have been notified prior to the use of the temporary door locking device.
– In-service training on the use of the temporary door locking device is provided for school staff members and records verifying this training shall be maintained on file and provided to the fire official upon request.
Also included in the rule is a provision requiring that the temporary door locking device not be permanently mounted to the door. However, certain parts of the device can be mounted if it does not affect the fire rating of the door.
The rule also says the removal of the device, after it is engaged, cannot require more than one operation (step). However, two steps may be permitted if the school is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system. This part of the rule could prompt testimony at the hearing, JCARR Executive Director Larry Wolpert said in a pre-meeting memo.
“Before these rules were written, there was a parent’s group in a Central Ohio school district that purchased over $30,000 in door locking devices for their school system. The devices they purchased require two steps … and therefore cannot be used unless their schools have sprinkler systems. It is our understanding their schools do not have sprinkler systems,” Wolpert said.
“The Board of Building Standards indicated this school district has the option to seek a variance at the Board of Building Appeals to use these two step … devices. There is a possibility members of this school district could give testimony at the JCARR meeting,” Wolpert continued. “JCARR staff believes the Board of Building standards composed rules as specifically directed in the budget bill and there are no JCARR prong issues.”