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Texas Teacher Invents New Classroom Locks


Crystal Salcido, an English teacher in El Paso, first came up with the idea for a new type of door lock in 2017. | Image by KTSM-TV, 5 NBC DFW

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A terrifying school lockdown experience three years ago inspired a Texas teacher to dedicate herself to making schools and other buildings safer.

Crystal Salcido, an English teacher in El Paso, first came up with the idea for a new type of door lock in 2017. However, after an upsetting lockdown experience at her school in 2019, she decided to quit teaching to devote herself full-time to her invention.

The lock consists of two stainless-steel latches that are permanently affixed to the door and door jamb, which can be quickly engaged by inserting a stainless steel sling into the latches. There are three different models, designed for doors that open inward, outward, or double doors.

Salcido originally called her invention DoorJam, but later changed the name to “Slon,” a Czech word for “elephant.” She explained the new name is a reference to how elephants are known to protect their little ones, just as teachers safeguard their students.

“There’s 30 other people in that classroom who haven’t started their lives yet that we (teachers) desperately want to protect,” she said.

Anthony Independent School District, located about 20 miles north of El Paso, has implemented her locks in all their classrooms. A spokesperson for the Anthony ISD stated that the district purchased the locks after the Uvalde shooting in Texas.

During the Uvalde tragedy, inadequate door-locking systems allowed the gunman to enter the school and easily access a classroom. The school’s outer doors could only be locked from the outside, and the classroom’s door lock was broken.

Nineteen students and two teachers died in the May 24 school shooting, and several others were injured. The Uvalde shooting was a wake-up call to many that schools need to be more vigilant about their locks.

The president of the National School Safety and Security Services, Ken Trump, stated that when doors are unlocked or locked insecurely, “your first step, your first line of defense has now been eliminated.”

Salcido is helping schools reinforce this first barrier to school intruders and this first line of defense. She hopes that every school in Texas will eventually utilize her locks, and maybe one day, they will be used nationwide.

Salcido is still in the process of getting the Slon lock patented.

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peTer Belding
peTer Belding
12 days ago

In 1958 a friend of mine was a young woman recruited to teach at Queen of Angels School in Chicago. She was uoung and the kids were rowdy so the head mistress locked ghe new teacher and kids in the room. There was a fire. They couldn’t get out until finally the head mistress came and unlocked the door. The young teacher led the kids down the burning staircase many getting burned. The head mistress brought up the rear with the last kids. My friend was burned on the way out and 95 people died including the head mistress.
We must make getting out of places very easy and clear.

Jim Enna
Jim Enna
Reply to  peTer Belding
11 days ago

What does this have to do with anything? The teacher in the room can unlock the door at will. In your example, the teacher had no control.

Dick Smith
Dick Smith
Reply to  Jim Enna
11 days ago

I think the point is that a lock of this nature that can only be locked or unlocked by one person inside the classroom, isn’t that great of an idea for many reasons. Statistically the chances you’ll ever have to lock a single classroom to protect children from a shooter are almost non-existent, next, who’s to say in the extremely low chance there is a shooter, that the shooter will be trying to break in to a classroom? It could very well be this lock is the thing that locks a shooter already present in the classroom, in with the children as what we saw in Uvalde. There are any number of scenarios that would make this lock a bad idea. This isn’t even considering the fact that the image of the lock in the picture would imply that the lock would have to be on the handle side of the door, meaning that lots of hands will go past it each day. The locking mechanism would either have to be separate like a key, to keep it from locking on accident, rendering it useless if the key couldn’t be located immediately, and if the locking mechanism is spring loaded there is an increased risk of locking the door inadvertently.
There are already much better locking systems on the market like electromagnetic that can lock down the entire school or unlock the entire school remotely. Of course if the person in control of the locks is the offender, it’s all in vain anyways so the only solution is keeping fanatics away from the schools.

9 days ago

NO, in Uvalde someone breaking standard protocol and leaving a door accessible when it was not supposed to be was the problem.
I can see that eventually someone will ENTER a room and lock themselves in with this device, causing much WORSE situations.
The issue with emergencies! just suffice to say that it MUST VIOLATE ALL FIRE CODES.

If you want these issues to end, pass a law that EVERY TEACHER and SCHOOL EMPLOYEE must be armed at all times. Make is a 10 cent per day fine payable to the teacher’s coffee club and on the honor system.

I guaranty that no idiot will believe that a school is a killing field with that law in place. I do not care if no employee carries arms, no one will know one way or the other.