Improved security measures bring new doors to CCCHS.


The History department doors, in the process of being installed.

Melanie McKelvey, News Editor

Students returning to Coffee County Central High School for the 2018-2019 school year immediately noticed a huge difference in the English, science, foreign language and business departments: glass security doors that were installed at each department entrance over summer break.

Following the dramatic increase in school shootings over the last few years, students and parents have become far more concerned about security at CCCHS. Most importantly, the absence of doors in said departments have become a major cause for concern.

“When this school was built, the brainchild for buildings was ‘open classrooms’ and that’s why we have so many open classrooms,” says Richard Skipper, the CTE director and HS administrator at CCCHS. 

As such, many of the classrooms in those departments have large doorways with no way of closing them off in the event of an intruder, which has made many students feel unsafe in their classes.

“For years we’ve discussed how we can close up each individual classroom,” Skipper adds. “One requirement for state fire codes is that every room has to have two exits… so we were limited in how we could do that.”

The school’s solution to overcoming the fire codes was to install doors at the entrances of the departments rather than in each of the individual classrooms as most of the offending departments are set back into their own alcoves.

“Funding for the door installation came from a state safety grant,” states CCCHS principal, Paul Parsley. The majority of the doors were installed over summer break by All Glass, a local glass shop located in Manchester, Tenn. The doors are comprised of shatterproof glass, which is required for use in schools by state law.

In the event of an intruder, the doors would be locked by teachers and make the entire department inaccessible. Students and teachers would then be able to safely shelter in place. Parsley adds that “the doors are locked late each afternoon and reopened early each morning” for additional safety. 

However, the doors can’t be expected to do all of the work. English II teacher Ms. Fults emphasizes, “In installing doors and secure entrances, the district [and administration] are doing their part to create the safest environment possible, but we all have to do our part… So I encourage everyone to stick to what they’ve probably heard a lot: If you see something, say something!”

In addition to that, our School Resource Officer, Officer Clem, adds “We as staff, we’re here for your safety, to provide that safety to the best of our ability. Never open a door to a stranger, if you see a door that’s open or unlocked, please shut it or come to a faculty member and let them know that there’s a door open.”

The project has been underway for over a year now, and isn’t quite finished yet. The school intends to continue installing doors in the English department and are currently in the process of installing doors in the history department.  Hopefully, the project will be complete within the next few weeks.