HISD classroom doors may stay closed to comply with fire safety codes | #schoolsaftey

Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles is scaling back a controversial policy that required most teachers to keep their classroom doors open during the school day in response to concerns about fire safety from the Houston Fire Department. 

Classroom doors in older buildings with no sprinkler system will remain closed for now to comply with fire safety requirements, according to Miles, who said roughly 20 percent of the buildings in the district lack sprinklers. 

BACKGROUND: HISD superintendent Mike Miles mandates classroom doors stay open, raising safety concerns

“This is about fire safety, and in that case, we want to be as safe as possible,” Miles said. “So if we don’t have a sprinkler system in the building, we will keep the doors closed until we can figure out how to magnetize or have fire-rated doors…We’ll figure that out, but right now, safety is the No 1 priority, so we’re going to do that.” 

The decision came after a meeting between Miles and Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña, who sat down to discuss the issue after the fire chief raised concerns that propping doors open may violate local fire and safety codes. 

“The Houston Fire Department and the Houston Independent School District Administration have met to discuss the issue of open classroom doors with the common goal of providing a safe environment for all HISD students and staff,” the chief said in a Wednesday statement. “The HISD Administration has committed to comply with all Houston Construction/Fire Code requirements regarding classroom doors.” 

The Houston Fire Marshal’s Office, which conducts routine inspections at all HISD campuses, has not issued any citations regarding open doors, according to the department. 

MEETING: ouston ISD board to vote on starting ‘District of Innovation’ process, new teacher appraisal system

Meanwhile, Jackie Anderson, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said her union is continuing to look for legal remedies to push back on the open-doors mandate. Anderson said she still has concerns about student and teacher safety at campuses where the doors will remain open. 

“We need all the doors to be closed, not some. All,” she said. “Fire is one thing, but there’s still a safety issue going on here.” 

Parents, teachers and families have raised similar concerns that keeping classroom doors open may peel back an important layer of safety, potentially allowing intruders to more easily enter classrooms with children. Classrooms in a noisy location or with doors that open to the outside can remain closed, according to the district. 

Miles, meanwhile, said he believes the open-door policy promotes safety. For example, he said, students in the hallway or bathroom can quickly get back into classrooms in the event of an active threat on campus, and teachers can close their doors in seconds. The doors will be in a position to automatically lock when pulled closed. 

MORE: HISD overhauled 28 NES schools. Here’s what students, parents think of the reforms after a week.

While many have raised safety concerns, however, Miles has said he introduced the policy to promote a professional environment in which administrators can frequently check in and coach teachers in the classroom. 

“As long as we’re able to get in and do what we need to do, it’s fine,” he said about the policy change. “We have to come in and out, and teachers need to feel like they’re going to get coaching and feedback.”  

Source link


Click Here For The Original Source.

National Cyber Security