Parents concerned about classrooms without doors in Tigard

Parents concerned about classrooms without doors in Tigard »Play Video
This photo shows a classroom without a door in Durham Elementary School in Tigard, Ore.

TIGARD, Ore. – Some parents and teachers in Tigard are concerned about what they say is a serious safety flaw at Durham Elementary School.

The classrooms don’t have doors.

Several schools in Tigard and Beaverton, Ore. have those designs. The idea was to make the hallways feel more open.

But concerns about security are heightened in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“We’ve been trying to get doors on these classrooms for a while now, for other reasons, and now is the time it has to happen,” said a Tigard mother who did not want her name released.

Parents started petitioning the Tigard-Tualatin School District to retrofit Durham by adding secure, lockable classroom doors.

“There has been several times when I’ve come in when there hasn’t been anyone in the office,” said the mother. “You can go right or left and you basically have access to the entire school.”

A new report from the Department of Homeland Security to help school districts design and build safer schools says interior doors, especially classroom doors, should be able to lock down quickly.

Durham does have fire doors that can seal off sections of the building, but those are controlled by buttons in the main office.

Tigard-Tualatin School District spokeswoman Susan Stark said the district listened to concerns from staff and parents and is acting quickly.

“We’re sending someone to measure for [the doors]. We’re going to figure out how much it’s going to cost,” said Stark. “We’re going to figure out what we can do to make it happen.”

We heard about this story from a KATU news tip. If there’s news in your neighborhood, email us at newstips@katu.com