BALTIMORE - At the Maritime Industries Academy on the east side, students say it feels like a jail; there is only one way in and one way out.
"It's like padlocks on every door of the school besides the front door. [So there are bolts and then there are padlocks through the bolts?] Yeah," responded one student.
ABC2News Investigators obtained pictures from inside the school showing just that.
Exit doors that clearly lead outside with bolts at the bottom and a padlock through the bolt.
Students who attend this school say every single door except the main entrance is bolted shut; the concerns are obvious.
"I will feel in danger if there is a fire and I can't get out. I would feel really in danger. Everybody will have to squeeze out that one door for real,’ said another student.
There is simply no fire code anywhere where these locks on these doors are an acceptable practice.
Here in Maryland the guidelines are laid out in chapter seven of the National Fire Protection Agency code for ‘assembly occupancies’ or schools; it clearly states “locks, if provided shall not require the use of any key, a tool or special knowledge or effort for operation from the egress side.”
Otherwise it could be a catastrophe in case of fire or even a safety concern on a smaller scale as we witnessed yesterday.
The Baltimore Teachers Union confirms for ABC2News that the ambulance and city school police response we caught on camera yesterday was in response to a fight where officers used mace to break it up.
That mace triggered a medical reaction from a teacher with asthma and when she tried to step outside to get some air and avoid an asthma attack, the door was bolted shut.
We asked Baltimore City Schools to sit down for an interview about these locks, why they are used and who approved them; the school system declined, offering us the following written statement instead:
“The safety of our students and staff is a top priority for City Schools. School administrators have been instructed to remove all locks from doors at Maritime Academy that violate the Baltimore City Fire Code and district staff will work with the school to make sure that proper security and safety measures are implemented. On Tuesday morning, school police were called to de-escalate an altercation between four students. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the Baltimore City Public Schools Code of Conduct.”
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