School districts question legality of barricades

Classroom barricades being questioned

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – At least four Valley school superintendents want to know if they are allowed to use barricades in their classrooms that are intended to stop a gunman.

But who makes that decision? Local or state officials? The debate comes after state officials voted down the use of another type of safety device in Licking County in central Ohio.

Lordstown Exempted Village School District is waiting to install the safety device, as are Newton Falls and Niles. The Trumbull Career and Technical Center already has them in place.

William Barna designed the Bolo Stick to barricade a classroom door to stop a gunman or intruder.

“We always look for ways for safety for our kids at the school. We found that this Bolo Stick and meeting with the creator of the Bolo Stick that it was a great product,” Lordstown Superintendent Terry Armstrong said. “We wanted to go forward with it. We did order them. We have not paid for them yet. We decided to hold off on installing until we find out clarity from the state that it is going to be okay to do so.”

“The authorities having jurisdiction have approved us and we are compliant,” Barna said.

But, now school officials are concerned whether products like it violate Ohio’s building and fire codes. 

The school districts have reached out to local legislators, including State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman. Schiavoni said this isn’t just a Valley issue, but a statewide issue.

“In two weeks, there is going to be a meeting with the attorney general, the director of commerce, the state fire marshal, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio Department of Homeland Security,” Schiavoni said.

He plans to attend, and hopes to bring back answers for districts in order for them to move forward with safety plans for their schools.

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