Oklahoma City teachers concerned about classrooms without working locks

Teachers at two Oklahoma City schools say their schools have classrooms with no locks or broken locks. Other classrooms without locks dot the district. District officials say they are fixing the problem.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: February 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm •  Published: February 15, 2013

Some Oklahoma City classrooms are missing locks as construction workers renovate schools throughout the district, and teachers say they worry for the safety of students.

“If a shooter would come through the door, my classroom would be the first one hit,” said one English teacher. “My job is to protect the kids. I'm supposed to. I can't do that if my door doesn't lock.”

At least two schools have multiple classrooms without proper locks.

District officials are working to fix the problem as quickly as possible, said Jim Burkey, chief operations officer for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

At least one school was supposed to have been updated by Thursday, he said.

A woman who teaches math to special education students said other classrooms at her school are missing locks altogether.

“It's very unsafe,” said one middle school math teacher. “It's scary.”

She said that she and others were hopeful that repairs would be made during Christmas break, especially considering the Connecticut shooting in December. Nothing changed, she said.

“We keep asking, ‘What do we do? What do we do? If someone came in and did something like that, what do we do?'” she said. “Where do we take our kids?' We can't lock the room. Anybody can walk in.”

Officials also are looking at how to prevent the problem in the future, Burkey said.

Trouble has arisen after contractors complete their work and turn the building back over to the district, Burkey said. Construction workers use temporary locks so they can get in and out of classrooms as needed. When contractors leave, the district is responsible for replacing the temporary construction locks with new locks.

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