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Gunman-Blocking Door Locks Installed In DePaul's Classrooms

By David Matthews | January 18, 2017 5:47am

THE LOOP — DePaul University is installing door-jamming locks in all its classrooms in an effort to protect students and staff from a mass shooting. 

DePaul's security boss said the door barricades are going in every classroom across the school's Loop and Lincoln Park campuses in an attempt to lock out security risks.

"This will allow you to secure the classroom door from outside threats," Bob Wachowski, DePaul's director of public safety, said in an email to staff and students. "This may be used if you hear what sounds like gunshots or if the speakers and message boards announce the need to lockdown and seek a secure location."

Installation should be finished by the end of the quarter, school officials said. 

"While these types of events are infrequent, knowing what to do ahead of time and having a plan is important to keep yourself and others safe," Wachowski said in the email. 

A video showing how DePaul's new door barricades work. [YouTube/Nightlock Door Barricade]

The new barricades work like doorstops that prevent intruders from opening doors from the outside. Nightlock, the company that makes DePaul's new door barricades, says its devices "use the strength of the floor to withstand tremendous force."

The devices retail for $59.95 each online, but what DePaul paid is unknown. 

School shootings are rare in Chicago, but recent threats have prompted lockdowns at many neighborhood schools. Students who brought guns to school separately sparked hours-long lockdowns last fall in West Town and Humboldt Park. Shootings outside of schools also cause lockdowns, in which teachers usually simply lock classroom doors and ask students to hide under their desks. 

A DePaul spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment on the barricades' cost or why DePaul is installing them now.

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