CHICAGO (CBS) – For months, CBS 2 has beenin multiple Chicago Public Schools due to classroom doors that only lock from the outside.
CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza spoke exclusively to a teacher who said she and her students were repeatedly locked in with no way out.
Locked classrooms are safer in the event of school shootings, but if teachers and students are locked in their rooms without being able to escape, that poses a host of other safety issues. The teacher who spoke to CBS 2 felt responsible for keeping her students safe but felt she couldn’t.
“Kids were screaming at the top of their lungs, ‘We can’t get out! We can’t get out!'” said the CPS teacher, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation.
She feared punishment for speaking out about being locked in her classroom and being unable to unlock it from the inside.
“It was mayhem,” she said. “Complete and utter mayhem.”
She said her class of seventh-grade students got stuck behind their classroom door dozens of times and that, for weeks, CPS didn’t fix the issue.
“I was told I had to keep my door open at all times,” she said.
That was CPS’ temporary solution, cited in an internal memo obtained by CBS 2 that showed the teacher filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“What are you going to do when the shooter is in the school and my door’s wide open?” the teacher said.
On the door, turn the key one way and the door remains unlocked. If the key is turned the other way, it’s locked from the outside, but those inside should still be able to get out without a key.
“Insignificant for the most part, and incredibly unsafe,” said.
Teachers are told to keep their doors locked at all times.
“I don’t think they keep the doors locked,” she said. “I personally wanted the door locked.”
If a door like the one in the school was functioning properly and was unlocked, a teacher would need to exit the room to lock the door in the case of an active shooter situation.
“I don’t think CPS actually cares about the safety of the student to be honest,” the teacher said.
Franza: “What do you think they care about?”
CPS said the locks in this particular classroom were fixed months after the incident happened. The district added that they regularly conduct ongoing preventative maintenance checks on all doors so they can correct any issues.