Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Some students at UCLA were forced to create makeshift barricades because they were unable to lock classroom doors Wednesday when the school went into lockdown during an active-shooter situation.
Beyond that, many of the doors opened outwardly, making it even more difficult to secure them against what was feared to be an active shooter.
UCLA is far from the only university to have doors that could prove problematic in a lockdown situation. Daniel Carter, a campus security consultant, told ABC News that part of the problem is that many campus buildings were not constructed with lockdown drills in mind.
“The door was intended to secure the items in the classroom when it was not in use,” Carter said.
Lockdowns and active-shooter situations are “not something that [were] ever conceived of when most of the academic buildings in this country were built,” Carter said.
But that’s no excuse for complacency, according to John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who led the agency’s active-shooter efforts after the deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
“It may be common, but it’s something that schools in the current climate will want to re-evaluate,” Cohen, who is now an ABC News consultant, said.
UCLA executive vice chancellor and provost Scott Waugh said school officials were “troubled” by reports of unlocked doors and promised to review the situation.
“We’ve heard all kinds of reports and we want to look at each one of them and make sure that the campus is secure as possible; make sure the students, faculty and staff will be safe in the locations that they have,” Waugh said Wednesday.
Carter, the campus security consultant, said he saw some of the makeshift barricades that students photographed and posted on social media.
“That is one option, but the only solution would be to rebuild academic buildings across the country, and therein lies the challenge: If you did that for every academic building in this country, the cost would be in the billions, probably,” he said. “That’s the hurdle.”
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