Parents and lawmakers want to slam the door shut on threats to school safety.
They are calling on the Department of Education to reverse a longstanding policy and allow principals to lock all doors.
“It’s foolish and ignorant of the DOE to think that we are safe having our doors open and unarmed security agents without the ability to do anything,” Lucy Accardo, a Queens mom of three kids and Education Council leader, told the Post. “You can walk right in with anything, and no one will ever know.”
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Councilman Paul Vallone of Queens are pressing the DOE on the issue.
But a showdown looms with Mayor de Blasio, who wants to stick a door jamb in school entrances.
“We are opposed,” mayoral spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said of locking doors. “Entries are staffed with an NYPD school-safety agent, and we trust them to keep our schools safe.”
Under the current policy, main entrances are unlocked and signs direct visitors to check in and show ID.
One assistant principal who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that since the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, parents have clamored for closed entrances. But at a recent meeting on school safety, a City Council member told school officials it is “illegal” to lock entrances and classroom doors.
“Really, anyone could just walk into the building,” the assistant principal said. “We have security guards who can’t do much to defend themselves . . . it’s almost like the school is a sitting duck.
“Kids are scared to come to school, teachers are scared, parents are scared,” she said.
New York City Parents Union Vice President Sam Pirozzolo warned, “Our schools are soft targets.”
Braunstein noted public-school protocol pales in comparison to private schools, where “visitors must ring a bell and announce themselves before being permitted entry.”
Vallone said locking doors “is just the first step.” He said schools also need video surveillance and intercom systems — and funding from City Hall.
“In the end, it always comes down to what the mayor’s vision is,” he said. “He has to be the one to set this in motion.”
On Staten Island, parents have advocated for locked school entrances for years. Parent leaders met last month with lawmakers and the NYPD to discuss school safety, including locking doors, according to Community Education Council District 31 President Mike Reilly.
“We have schools where you walk in and there is a stairwell or door before you get to the agent, so if they are distracted, someone could slip in,” he said.
Detractors of locked doors point to blocking access to first responders, but proponents say that is easily overcome by issuing universal keys to cops and firefighters — like the ones the FDNY has for all elevators.
Reilly noted that after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a Staten Island principal decided to lock the front doors. A school safety agent promptly filed a grievance, arguing it was outside the scope of his duties to answer the door for each visitor.
In the age of mass shootings, schools across the country have grappled with the issue of open or closed doors.
Miami-Dade public schools began requiring teachers to lock classroom doors after the Parkland shooting, but main entrances remain unlocked.
At Houston public schools, once headed by new city Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the “general practice is to keep all doors locked during the school day,” a spokeswoman said. Entrances are accessible via key card and all schools have cameras and a buzzer-entry system.
DOE deferred to Mayor de Blasio on the issue.