Palm Beach County public school classroom doors must be locked, under new policy

District employees could face 'disciplinary action' for not locking doors, proposed policy states
The School District of Palm Beach County's headquarters near West Palm Beach during the 2021-22 academic year.jpg
Posted at 2:15 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 17:08:34-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A new mandate in Palm Beach County public schools will require all classroom doors to be locked when school is in session.

WPTV first reported in June that a handful of classroom doors in the School District of Palm Beach County did not lock because they were used as fire exits.

While it's currently common practice in the district to keep classroom doors locked, it's not a written policy. But now that will change.

WATCH: Some Palm Beach County classroom doors don't lock, used as fire exits, school district says

Some Palm Beach County classroom doors don't lock, used as fire exits, school district says


Kelly Melvin, a longtime Palm Beach County teacher, shared her concerns exclusively with WPTV in June, saying she was in a classroom used as a fire exit, and therefore her classroom door did not lock.

With the laser focus on school safety right now, Melvin wanted to see change.

The school district has since addressed the issue and every classroom now has a locking door.

The Palm Beach County School Board on Wednesday discussed the first draft of a new proposed policy that will require teachers to keep their classroom doors locked while school is in session.

"All classroom doors leading to corridors or outside must remain closed and locked during class and will not be left propped or standing open, except during class change," the proposed policy reads. "Manipulation of doors or locks to prevent the locks from securely engaging is prohibited."

School board Chairman Frank Barbieri said the new policy is a long time coming.

"We want to make sure we aren't unwittingly putting children at risk because a staff member doesn't understand the significance of keeping a door locked," Barbieri said.

School district Police Chief Sarah Mooney said Wednesday that while it's standard practice to lock classroom doors, there is not a state mandate requiring it.

In addition to classroom doors, all delivery gates will be locked at all times, except during deliveries.

The proposed policy also states that a single point of entry at every Palm Beach County public school "shall be established and monitored at all times, preventing access to the remainder of the campus."

The policy means there will be potential consequences if a staff member is caught not locking their classroom door.

"Any employee failing to comply with this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination," the proposal reads.

The Palm Beach County School Board will vote at a later date to officially adopt the policy.