Viral post showing how to lock a classroom door with a chair spurs debate

A widely circulated video showing a “trick” of using a chair to lock a gunman out of a classroom has sparked an online debate about how the US should approach school safety.

That clip shows an unnamed man pressing the leg of a classroom chair against a doorknob and wall to seal off a room. The video, posted by Twitter user RobbBeaux, has been retweeted more than 16,000 times and offers a glimpse of the desperation for solutions to school shootings after a gunman killed 22 people at a Texas elementary school last week.

The video’s responses reflect the arguments between those calling for “hardening” measures in schools and others calling for tougher gun laws.

“Sucks I even have to share this,” RobbBeaux wrote in the tweet. “But just in case.”

The footage shows a man wearing a bright yellow safety vest standing near a door, holding a small chair commonly used in an elementary school classroom. He picks up the chair and slides one of his thin metal legs between the doorknob and the door. He then turns it so the side of the chair is pressed against the wall securing the door.

The man advises viewers to mark the leg that is going to be braced against the door with “glitter” or “googly eyes” so it’s clear which one to use.

“This thing is solid, it’s not going anywhere,” says the man in the video. “And that cost me something? Two seconds.”

The fatal shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, last week reignited debates about school safety. Republicans and gun rights advocates have argued that more security and armed teachers in schools will stop shootings. But Democrats, gun control advocates and security experts called the approach impractical and said schools would resemble prisons and other high-security environments.

“I’d better train/arm my teacher and get ready to protect my kid,” Twitter user TRIGGA said in response to the video.

Tweeter Melody, meanwhile, responded with a meme showing young children walking along a barbed wire fence to the entrance of a school, where armored guards awaited them. The building is named “Cruz Elementary,” a nod to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who called for schools to toughen up gun control.

Other commenters questioned the convenience of using a chair to block the door and noted how shooters appropriated powerful weapons.

Investigators at Robb Elementary School
An investigator walks past broken classroom windows at Robb Elementary School, the site of the May 24 mass shooting May 30, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

“So you’re telling me a 100-round AR15 can’t shoot the button?” Twitter user RXRDBOY wrote.

“What’s your plan?” Twitter user Knickers responded. “In the face of this or nothing, do you choose nothing? It might work. It could be. It couldn’t. Doing nothing will NOT work. So you will definitely get shot. Not maybe. Besides, what’s your plan?”

Calls to pass gun control laws following the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting have stalled in Congress. Since then, schools have developed plans and training on how students and teachers should respond to shootings. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have issued guides on how businesses and schools can prepare for shooters. Both advise staff and students to flee from gunmen, hide from them by a locked door (if possible), and fight as a last resort.

Another online commenter said it would be better “to have at least one or two armed police officers on every campus rather than hiding on the side of the road handing out tickets, but that wouldn’t make them any money.”

But Twitter user James pointed out that police in Uvalde, Texas, were criticized for their hands-on approach to the shooting.

Commentator Cam Mel said: “The guy is just offering a solution to buy some time. At least he’s trying to do something!”

news week has reached out to the FBI for comment. Viral post showing how to lock a classroom door with a chair spurs debate

Rick Schindler

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