West Ada School District changing lockdown policy

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-20 20:22:44-04

The state's largest school district is changing its lockdown policy, but the big question is, could that decision ultimately put kids in harm's way?

We recently reported on how Treasure Valley teachers are getting creative to keep their students safe.
After our story aired, teachers in the West Ada School District were told they could no longer use extra locking devices on their classroom doors.
We wanted to find out why.

Fire and police chiefs are grappling with how best to protect students during school shootings, and sometimes their policy clashes with what school districts and teachers want.

Rocky Mountain teacher Charlie Bidondo recently showed us his simple, homemade lock. The administration liked Mr. Bidondo's idea so much they asked the science teacher to create the three dollar device for all classroom doors at Rocky High and Sawtooth Middle School.

The device is meant to keep the bad guys out, but the Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer is worried it stops the good guys from getting in. 

"We want to make sure there are no unintended consequences of the devices being used to prevent us from getting in to provide help", said Chief Niemeyer

Meridian Fire follows the national and state code for school safety, but that code doesn't directly address barricading doors during lockdowns. In fact, just on May 1st, The National Fire Protection Association came out with its first-ever policy for how emergency responders should handle active shooters.

At the heart of the new standard, making sure communities have a unified plan. 
Meridian's fire chief agrees and says that means looking at every angle of how to protect campuses, not just the issue of door locks. 

Instead of taking a hard-line approach with innovative, caring teachers, the chief is preaching collaboration.

"we don't want to make this about fines and penalties and punishments; we want to make it about how do we come to a great solution", said Niemeyer.

Everyone seems to agree that great solution can only be found with a joint effort.
This week emergency responders and school district leaders from around the valley plan to meet to discuss school safety, we'll be there to let you know what's decided.