CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County school officials are working to make sure every classroom can lock from the inside. But the improvements will take time, leaders said.
Ideally, it takes about 30 minutes to replace a lock, said Terry Hollandsworth, maintenance director for the school system.
Even under those circumstances it is unlikely the two locksmiths employed by Kanawha County Schools could change all the locks in one building in a day, he said.
Still, the county has replaced the locks on every classroom door in 28 schools,
Maintenance workers have installed what he called "intruder locks," or doorknobs that can be locked from either side of the door. They're more substantial than the typical door lock; Hollandsworth compared them to locks on the doors at convenience stores.
The county has the parts to replace the locks at 11 more schools, Hollandsworth said.
The locks have been a focal point for school system security since the mass shooting in Connecticut earlier this month.
The county board of education asked Hollandsworth to prepare a progress report on the installation of the new classroom door locks. He said he'd have that report ready for the board before its next meeting.
Right now in Kanawha County, a teacher would need to open the door and put the key in the lock from the outside in order to secure the classroom.
"The teachers have no way to protect their students should an emergency arise," said Dinah Adkins, president of the Kanawha County Education Association, during a recent board of education meeting. "It leaves people vulnerable."
Many times there are problems with the doors themselves, added Chuck Wilson, director of the facilities department. The door might not close correctly or might need to be replaced. That requires time and money.