UPDATE: Schools Advised to Install “Man Traps”

UPDATE: This story is from Roxbury, NJ, not Roxbury, Mass. My bad. The area’s Wikipedia page lists crime stats from 2009: 0 murders, 3 robberies. 

In Roxbury, Mass, the school district just hired the former chief of police, Jim Simonetti, to evaluate their security. And guess what? He has recommended the district spend over half a million dollars on “MAN TRAPS” to be installed at all three public schools.

That’s the real term. Man Traps.

These are interrogation rooms that visitors must pass through on their way into the schools where they will show I.D.s. If the guests pass muster, they are allowed on in, says the Tap Into Roxbury news service. Moreover —

Another security measure being recommended by Simonetti involves what some might label a blow to civility: People should no longer hold open, or open, a school door for those coming behind them. “I’m going to ask you not to,” Simonetti said, noting that doing so creates a security breach.

Similarly, Simonetti is urging students to not use pencils, book bags or other items to prop open doors when they need to run out to their car for forgotten items. This “stop the prop” idea came from students during Simonetti’s discussions with them about school security, he said.

I can sort of see not propping open the doors all day long. But the idea of not holding the door open — actually CLOSING the door on people you KNOW is not a blow to civility, it’s a blow to civilization.

Treating every human as a ticking time bomb is not only mean, it’s crazy. It’s like treating every snow globe as if it’s an explosive device.

Oh wait. Okay, so it’s like internalizing that same mindset you see at the TSA: Not even the most ridiculous threat — say, a pair of knitting needles wielded by am 88-year-old in a home-made, hand-knit dress-and-tam ensemble — is to be trusted. Away the needles go.

Just like slam the doors in Roxbury go. Even though the schools already had a system in place to buzz people in, the guy paid to find new safety loopholes says — surprise — he found some! Therefore, the old security system is pathetic. We must trap the men.

…and women, of course.

But for some reason they aren’t called Women Traps, are they? – L.

This is not what the actual Man Trap looks like. At least, so far as I can tell. 

 

, , ,

42 Responses to UPDATE: Schools Advised to Install “Man Traps”

  1. donald March 2, 2017 at 1:50 am #

    “CLOSING the door on people you KNOW is not a blow to civility, it’s a blow to civilization.”

    The fear hysteria is there BECAUSE of the suspicion/mistrust mantra that is being shoved down our throats.

    “Just like slam the doors in Roxbury go. Even though the schools already had a system in place to buzz people in, the guy paid to find new safety loopholes says — surprise — he found some!”

    This is no surprise. A professional safety loophole finder must find loopholes or else he won’t get paid. We live in the land of solution providers. Whether or not there is an actual problem, we must have a solution. We spend millions of dollars on solutions for things that have no problems. Then we can’t afford stimulus packages to encourage more employment.

  2. BL March 2, 2017 at 3:14 am #

    “Treating every human as a ticking time bomb is not only mean, it’s crazy”

    Somehow it’s regarded as prudent to mistrust our ordinary fellow citizens as ticking time bombs, but it’s considered paranoid to mistrust agents of the state (like Simonetti) and think they might be tyrants, even petty tyrants.

  3. MichaelF March 2, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    In a company we are told – NO TAILGATING. Letting someone in behind you, especially someone you don’t know. Though there is a lot more to that than someone in a school. Roxbury may not be the best part of Boston, but for the school to have to think in this level of fear is just sad, especially for a place of inclusiveness and learning.

  4. common sense March 2, 2017 at 6:19 am #

    bl..that;s just it..they want us to only trust”them” not our friends ,not our neighbors, not even our families. they want us only to trust the government, don’t you know they have our best interest6s at heart? sorry about the sarcasm, the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

  5. mer March 2, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    @MichaelF that is common in places doing government work and folks have security clearances along with badges. I can see private companies doing the same thing for restricted areas.

    As for the ManTraps, it’s really just part of the Feminist movement to get rid of the Patriarchy.

  6. Marlene March 2, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Fear Mongering! Are there statistics that back up the recommendations? Has there been a rash crimes being committed by people who entered the school because someone held the door open for them?

    Fear Mongering is the spreading over exaggerated information of an impending danger or false flag drills which use scare tactics that are designed to purposely and needlessly arouse public fear about an issue. These scare tactics are designed to influence the public into believing that an action is necessary or a law needs to be created based on the fear of non-action could bring about danger to all civilians.

  7. delurking March 2, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    No foxholes to defend the front door or sandbagged trenches in a crossfire configuration controlling the driveway? This guy just doesn’t take security seriously.

  8. Emily March 2, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    Nobody should EVER hold the door open for someone behind them, even someone who they know to be a member of the school community, like a student, teacher, well-known parent, et cetera? That could be taken to absurd heights. I mean, followed to the letter, this rule would mean that, say, a student attending that school would have to shut the door on a friend walking with, but slightly behind them, carrying something like, say, a large stack of books, or an unwieldy cardboard-box diorama, or a Crock-Pot of chili for a school potluck, so that they can’t use their hands. What about all the lessons that schools teach kids about being kind and helpful, et cetera? It seems like kind of a conflicting message to tell them, “Be helpful to others, but shut the door in their faces.”

  9. Jess March 2, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    I’d like to point out that I have taken knitting needles with me on several flights in my carry-on since 9/11 and not once have I had them confiscated. I have even brought my whole set of needles, and I mainly use the foot-long metal ones, and no one has said anything. Scissors, yes, and nail clippers, but never my knitting needles.

  10. Dienne March 2, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    “But for some reason they aren’t called Women Traps, are they?”

    Well of course not. We all know that only men are predatory.

    (In case it’s not obvious /sarcasm)

  11. Jessica March 2, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    You were right to point out the economics of it: they paid this guy– presumably a lot– to identify security problems. He couldn’t very well hand them a report that said, “Everything here is fine; you needn’t have spent any money on me at all.”

  12. Jane March 2, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    I can never quite understand the rationale behind trying to be overly strict on who enters our schools in the name of safety. We claim it is to protect the children, but do they not go outside at recess? Is there not a mass exodus of people outside when school lets out? In both of those instances, our kids are “exposed” to (gasp!) strangers on the street. Are there not windows to classrooms that could easily be broken by someone determined to get inside a school? We are deluding ourselves when we think that spending lots of money to make fancy entrances to schools somehow protects the children from harm. Someone intent on harming them will find a way, but we will be out an awful lot of taxpayer money as we build these feel-good facades that lull us into thinking our children are “protected.” In other words, add “man-traps” sound like one more waste of money.

  13. Andrew March 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Man traps? I was expecting some sort of human-sized snare. Oh.

    He was asked to *evaluate* security. That requires him to exercise his professional judgment and give an opinion on whether the security was too little, about right, or too much.

    But can you imaging him saying “Oh, your security is far too tight. What you need to do is relax a bit” let alone “everything is fine”.

    Obviously there is always more that could be done to *increase* security. Just keep all the doors locked, all the time, so no-one can get in, ever. Including the pupils. Heck, why even have doors. Those apertures just allow the Bad Men to get in. Block them off permanently. Simple. I’ll send an invoice for my security consultation services later.

  14. Bostonian March 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    This article says Roxbury, NJ.

  15. Mark Roulo March 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    “In a company we are told – NO TAILGATING. Letting someone in behind you, especially someone you don’t know.”

    My employer has the same basic policy.

    I interpret it to mean that I’m supposed to be polite and let the folks behind me go through the door first.
    But I do ask to see a badge if I don’t recognize the person 🙂

  16. Betsy in Michigan March 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    If they’re that paranoid, wouldn’t a standard metal detector flag most of the big bad wolves? Oh, wait, plastic explosives and over 3 ounces of liquid the TSA disallows…..

    So I guess this would mean you can’t send your 15 year old with no ID in to pick up their younger sibling? This way lies madness…..

  17. Dan March 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    >No foxholes to defend the front door or sandbagged trenches in a crossfire configuration controlling the driveway? This guy just doesn’t take security seriously.

    First step will be high walls topped with concertina wire. On the up side, think of the savings to be had in being able to multi-purpose the architectural plans for all similar institutions.

  18. Aimee March 2, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    What he’s describing as a “man trap” (kind of a dumb name, IMHO) is a “sally port”…. used in medieval castles…. and modern correctional facilities. No kidding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_port

    Well, maybe the door to the outside isn’t locked from the inside. But if the goal is to create a “trap” – it would HAVE to lock from both ends to keep the undesirable “man” in the “trap.”

    Is anyone else as troubled as I am that schools and prisons have a lot of common architecture? Note: I am a HUGE supporter of public schools. Ginormous. But schools and prisons are two entirely different kinds of facilities with entirely different cultures and goals.

  19. Dean March 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I was legal guardian for three siblings. I was told I could not have contact with any of them “because you are not their parent”. I didn’t make it a habit to carry the legal guardianship documents, any more than a parent would normally carry birth certificates, I did have my driver’s license and even a card showing I had federal security clearance.

  20. s j b March 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    hey, please correct the error: as the article you link to clearly states in the dateline, this report involves roxbury, new jersey. not massachusetts. (in massachusetts, roxbury is a neighborhood of boston, and is part of the boston public school district).

  21. Christopher Byrne March 2, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    Wouldn’t the money be better spent on educational materials? A friend wants to know.

  22. BL March 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    @Christopher Byrne
    “Wouldn’t the money be better spent on educational materials? A friend wants to know.”

    Please, This is a school. Don’t be silly.

  23. SKL March 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    I will continue acting like a human being. What are they going to do, arrest me?

  24. bmommyx2 March 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    I’m glad I don’t live there. Our campus is more causal. It’s open, no gates or guards. You go into the office & self sign in the volunteer log or visors log & grab a visitor badge then you go on your way, no ID no interrogation, no checks. We have lots of Dads who volunteer & lots of grandparents or other relatives on campus. I feel my kids are safe. The sad reality is that if someone is intent on doing harm the above will not stop them & it’s nieve & gives parents & staff a false sense of security letting their guards down doing more harm in the long run. Fear sells & there are people out to make a profit.

  25. donald March 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    If you walk into a used car lot and ask, “Do you think I need to buy a car”? They WILL sell you a car. They won’t assess the car that you currently have or see if it’s in better condition than any of their cars. They won’t do that at all. THEY WILL SELL YOU A CAR! Whether the car is better or not is irrelevant. Perhaps it’s higher maintenance than your current car. SO WHAT? They made the sale.

    If you go into a security consultancy and ask, “Do yo think my security is good enough”? THEY WILL SELL YOU MORE SECURITY! Whether the new security system is better or not is irrelevant. Perhaps it’s insulting, rude, and discriminatory. SO WHAT? They made the sale.

  26. Jill R March 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    I FEEL for those kids with the door-propping thing!!!!! I worked at an elementary school and all the doors to the outside (except the main ones by the front office) were locked from the outside. Teachers had keys, but I was a daycare employee (daycare was attached to the school) and we couldn’t have keys for those doors. We cared for about 50 kids before and after school, and supervising them outside was insanely annoying because of this locking door policy. Constantly searching for door propping items, and then someone goes through and moves it– door’s locked, we have to go all the way around the school to the front to get in. Kid has to pee? Ugh, door’s locked. Forgot something inside? Ugh, door is locked again.
    And I never could understand how that was “safe” during school hours. For one thing, there are about 10 “portables” at the back of the school (pre-fab, modular, trailer-type classrooms, if you’re not familiar) and students have to go into the school to use the bathroom. So I guess a teacher would have to leave their room, and go unlock the back school door any time a kid has to pee.
    Same thing during recess… and the BEST part of all, kids had their emergency medications locked up in the office!
    I raised the issue with the office staff once, saying, “you do realize that these locked door/locked meds in office policies means a child will be waiting a significantly long period of time before they receive a life-saving EpiPen, emergency inhaler, seizure meds, etc…”
    Nothing changed, of course. We prioritize the “school shooting” scenario (which is even less likely in Canada, where this school is) or a kidnapper trying to sneak in, over more common scenarios like students having asthma attacks or anaphylactic episodes.

  27. Peter March 2, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    Actually, I sometimes wonder how much of this is about keeping the kids in…

    Back in Jr. High, I used to walk out all the time. I would leave an odd trail (home-room sign out to library, library sign out to home-room) and then I would just walk out a side door. People who saw me assumed I was allowed to leave, because I wouldn’t be leaving if I didn’t have permission, right?

  28. Sandra March 2, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    Back in the Dark Ages, I remember my grandfather complaining that “the law” wouldn’t allow him to install a man rap. Of course, he was talking about a loaded shotgun fired by a rope and weights…and it was his garage he wanted to protect, not his family.

  29. SteveD March 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    Donald said:

    “…A professional safety loophole finder must find loopholes or else he won’t get paid.

    “We live in the land of solution providers. Whether or not there is an actual problem, we must have a solution. We spend millions of dollars on solutions for things that have no problems…”

    ———-

    Related to this — but a bit off topic — is:

    The primary reason the cost of healthcare keeps going up and up and up is that more and more of life is being classified as a Medical Condition that insurance should pay for. When this happens, an infinite amount of money must be taken from We The People so everyone who has a scratch or anything else “will be covered.”

    One article called:– “Outrageous E.R. Hospital Charges: What to Do” — said this:

    “But where it really gets interesting is when you look at the specific reasons for those E.R. visits: The researchers found that the treatment price for a headache could range from $15 to a whopping $17,797. As for a sprained ankle, it could set someone back a paltry $4 or up to $24,110!”

    NOW … if you think $24,110 is outrageous for treatment for a sprained ankle, how about this one:

    “DOCTORS COULD PRESCRIBE HOUSES TO THE HOMELESS UNDER RADICAL HAWAII BILL”

    “Newly introduced bill would classify homelessness as a medical condition…”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/28/hawaii-homeless-housing-bill-healthcare-costs

    —————–

    So, if homelessness is ever actually classified as a “medical condition,” and houses are prescribed by doctors as the fix ( that insurance will pay for), just think of all the wildly outrageous laws we might see on the insane, Anti-Free Range / Fear-Mongering horizon. Not that the crazy healthcare industry has anything to do with schools and raising kids, but the two realms DO share fear-mongering and “what other wild things can we dream up for your own good.”

  30. Rachael March 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    The term ‘man traps’ is offensive! They are discriminating and need to be called out on this bigoted behavior.

  31. poeducker March 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    Thought you were talking about this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantrap_(snare)

  32. Eric S March 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Really? “Man Traps”. Ummm…plenty of women pedophiles out there too. Society needs to stop pointing fingers at men. Women can and have done as worse or worse to children. That said, not enough “supply and demand” for this “man trap”. Especially for half a million dollar price tag. But it does make things worse for everyone. Because it’s just another thing that enforces illogical, unreasonable, and unfounded paranoia in people.

  33. James Pollock March 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    “That’s the real term. Man Traps.”
    This is, indeed, a real term, although it’s often written as one word.
    A mantrap provides more security, because someone has to be not only “buzzed in” but also “buzzed out”. Like an airlock, the inside door and the outside door can never be opened at the same time. You find them at (surprise!) prisons, but also places with a large amount of cash, such as the vault in a large bank, or things that are very valuable, such as R&D facilities.

    Utterly useless in a school, of course, because a school has to have doors that “fail open”. meaning that you can go out at any time.

  34. James Pollock March 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    “Really? “Man Traps”. Ummm…plenty of women pedophiles out there too.”

    A mantrap isn’t distinguishing between men and women. It’s distinguishing between men and other kids of potentially dangerous animals that are trapped, like wolves or bears. They have them at the women’s prison, too.

  35. Papilio March 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    34 comments and no one asked what the bait is.

  36. Richard Jones March 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    If you are a hammer (consultant) everything looks like a nail (problem). I’m sure he didn’t have any recommendations as to a vendor. wink, wink

  37. NY Mom March 6, 2017 at 7:08 am #

    Eek! A male!

    Eek! A pregnant woman carrying a toddler!
    Slam that door on her!

  38. BL March 6, 2017 at 8:08 am #

    “Eek! A pregnant woman carrying a toddler!
    Slam that door on her!”

    Do it for the children!

  39. anon March 6, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    Huge fan here, but my son’s preschool — a Jewish school– has that rule of not holding open the door to someone you don’t know (i.e. another parent or staff). I support it, absolutely. We often have people who have made it into the building from nice people holding open the door, and they try to proselytize; and while we haven’t had any threats recently (thank god), there have been attacks in the past; the issue of security is serious. It’s really not all or nothing–all fear or no fear–sometimes there is a middle ground that must be considered.

  40. Felix March 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    First off, I am living in Bavaria, so you might consider it southern Germany.
    What I am always baffled by are the security guards and other installations at US schools. Here, we do not have any of that and get along not only just as good, but probably even better. There are no bullet proof windows, no guards at all and nobody cares about shooting drills. In fact, most older schools do have different alarm codes, but nobody knows the different meanings anymore, so any alarm going off is considered a fire alarm. (There once was an alarm for a chemical weapon attack because somebody in the office pushed the wrong button and everyone made their way to the gym field…) Or more, a fire exercise, since nobody really expects any fires.
    It is true that elementary schools are secured with the entrance doors only being possible to open from the inside and fire protection doors to unused parts of the school locked during the afternoon. The only way for outsiders to enter usually is by ringing the secretariat of the school. But that only goes up to fourth grade. And there still are no security guards.

  41. David johnson March 7, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    Security professionals get over-exposed to the ugly side of humanity, and it is their job to consider these things. I often hear my friends in law enforcement talk about how hard it is to balance security with openness in a school or church setting. They are also the same people who will take a bunch of 6 to 15 year old kids to the shooting range and teach them to handle firearms.

  42. JP Merzetti March 10, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    I’m wondering what sort of man the trap is designed to catch.
    Dads?
    (You know…the fathers of said inmate children inside the premises.)
    The ones who did their duty just like stud horses,
    and now must appropriately retire to the paddock.

    Soldiers used to fight for kids, apparently.
    We all thought that was right patriotic of them.

    But now laying down the sword and shield are not quite enough.
    One must surrender gender……