Ingenious Or Ignorant? Class Lockdown Magnet

A locksmith has come up with a 'universal' lockdown device that solves the problem of teachers fumbling with keys to lock classes during an emergency:

To summarize, the 'device' requires a door have ANSI F84/F05 'Classroom Function' locks, where free egress is always from inside, and locking is outside by key only so you can't lock teacher out. The magnet solution is just to keep the lock 'locked', and cover up the latch with a magnet.

However, I see a few considerable problems with this:

  • Many doors don't stay closed unless they are latched. Buildings settle, hinges wear, and frames warp. These doors often just swing open, which means that magnet is only useful on well adjusted openings.
  • If the door is a firedoor, this magnet violates code. From NFPA 80 (6.4.4.3.3): ...in a fire emergency, the door (shall) becomes positively latched... (This is to ensure the door acts as a firebreak and protects the occupants inside.)
  • A prankster just needs to slide the magnet down a few inches to lock the teacher out.
  • The teacher still has to open the classroom door to potential danger to remove the magnet.

The most comment sentiment I've read from industry types is that "This product is ingenious AND cheap! Just what the market needs more of!"

I think it is foolish, potentially dangerous, and gimmicky. If cost is an issue, the magnet may be cheap, but I can just take a wad of paper and stick it in the strikebox for free. Would that receive accolades for ingenuity?

What do you think?


When I first saw this, I thought the point was that it avoids having to buy classroom function locks but evidently not? So if I need to buy classroom locks anyway, how does this help? Sorry, basic question.

There is ambiguity concerning 'Classroom Locks', and many manufacturers have their own offerings that meet the formal ANSI requirements, but go above and beyond the spec.

For example, some manufacturers include a locking cylinder on the inside that locks the door, but the inside handle still opens the door freely.

This makes good sense to me, because a teacher can 'secure' the class without opening the door. However, the spec does not require this feature.

This magnet 'helps' by letting a teacher ALWAYS keep the door locked, but prevents it from latching to they cannot accidentally lock themselves out of their own classroom. In theory, once the threat alarm sounds, the teacher yanks the magnet cover and the door is locked.