Safety plays a central role in the design of all building types but is especially important in school design. Schools should be both safe places and safe spaces.

Here are three ways Draper can help designers make their schools safer:

Improving security with shades.
When the Glen Ellyn Elementary School District in Illinois decided it was time to build four new schools, the architects specified that classroom windows in the new schools had to be furnished with motorized shades. The main reason for this is rather sobering.

“One of the concerns is that should there ever be a need to lock down a school, they wanted to be able to quickly throw a switch to lower the shades so your movements can’t be seen,” said Al Marx of Shadeology, who installed the Draper shades. “You don’t have time to be running to the windows to pull chains, while you’re trying to take care of a classroom of elementary children.”

There’s also more and more need to shade not just the exterior windows but also interior windows and doors. Shades are used to mask movement inside the classroom in the event of a lockdown.

Keeping switches inaccessible.
Several years ago, a Draper dealer was having problems with a projection screen in the local school. The screen’s heavy-duty motor kept “burning out.” Neither the dealer nor our AV people could figure out what caused it. So, off went the new motor to the installation site, which turned out to be a school.

After going through three replacement motors, the problem was finally discovered: every day after school, two elementary school boys were taking turns operating the wall switch while the other would grab onto the dowel and hang on while the screen went up and down. No wonder the motor was burning out! In fact, those kids were lucky that the unit was well-made and the installers had taken care to properly and safely mount it.

This potentially dangerous situation could have been avoided by having a key switch instead of a standard wall switch. This way, only someone with the correct key can lower or raise screens or other equipment.

Staying safe in the gym.
The next time you are in a gymnasium, look up. You will see a lot of heavy equipment suspended from the ceiling structure.

A few years ago, in Weeping Water, Nebraska, a basketball backstop (not a Draper backstop) fell, hitting two adults and two children onto some spectators. Two of the victims had to be taken to the hospital by helicopter. One victim suffered a serious spinal injury which resulted in partial paralysis.

This incident illustrates the need for safety straps on all folding basketball backstops. It is important to specify safety straps for all folding backstops. These straps will stop the backstop from falling in the event of a winch or cable failure.

Another safety consideration is attaching backboards, height adjusters, and other equipment to the backstop mast.

In April 2017, a height adjuster fell off a backstop mast tube at Irving Elementary in Joplin, Missouri, causing a fatal accident.

An 18-year-old student teaching in elementary school jumped up and grabbed the rim, hanging on it. The height adjuster, backboard, and goal slid off and landed on the student.

In addition to using clamps that are more than strong enough to hold, Draper also provides all single-post backstops with a positive stop to prevent clamps from sliding off. A positive stop can be as simple as a bolt, but some have a u-shaped strap that goes above and below the attachment clamp.

If you have questions about how Draper can help you focus on school safety in areas you might not have considered, click here to find your Draper representative.

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