That Dreaded Summertime Process


What is that security process that schools despise each summer? Changing locker combinations. If you have ever done so for a Middle School with 900 lockers using built-in spin dial locks, you deserve a medal. It’s an arduous process and one that should have died with filmstrip projectors and typewriters.

In fact, it is impacting student safety and security, as many schools with these old-style locks no longer change the combinations due to the burden it puts on staff and the administrative labor required to keep the records up-to-date. When you consider that most of these old-style locks only have 5-7 possible combinations, along with the 12 (or more) steps it takes to change each and every locker combination, you begin to see why security falls victim to an outdated process.

Here are the 12 steps as published from one of the major lock manufacturers:

  1. Obtain the control key and chart showing combinations (only 5-7) possible for each lock.
  2. Insert control key and turn it right one-quarter turn.
  3. Open door.
  4. Revolve dial to the right at least one complete turn, stopping at zero (0).
  5. Depress push-button on back of lock case and hold in depressed position.
  6. With other hand, rotate the dial to the right two tick marks.
    1. (Do not turn dial more than two tick marks with button depressed.)
  7. Then release push-button.
  8. Turn dial to the right until you hear click. Then stop. The combination has now been changed.
  9. Close locker door. Remove key by turning it one quarter turn to left, back to original position.
  10. Dial the new combination (see chart for dialing numbers) to be certain that combination has been properly changed.
  11. If a mistake was made in following the above instructions, dial the first combination (see chart).
    1. If it does not work, dial the next combination, etc. until correct combination to open the lock is reached.
  12. IMPORTANT: Make sure the combination change is reported to the lock supervisor so the records can be brought up to date.

Consider these 12 steps times 900 lockers. Yes, this is how it has happened for decades. And, in many cases, this outdated process is why security within school lockers has suffered–the process is mind-numbing.

Security in a modern locker system does not operate as I have outlined above. Today, technology exists that can take those 900 locker locks and allocate new codes to the entire school within 60 seconds or less. No wifi or bluetooth or any other pricey technology is needed. This technology is also the administrative interface for who is assigned which locker, what their code is, and it has the ability to text or email the student assigned to the locker–giving them their code and locker location/number.

In short, those 12 steps times 900 lockers can be gone–forever. Gone also are the excuses for not updating combinations on a regular basis–improving school security. Oh, and those 5-7 combinations of old?–replaced by 10,000 possible keypad combinations per locker. And how does it impact locker searches? That’s covered. The new electronic keypad locks have an override key for immediate authorized access to any locker.

What I have just described is locking security within a modern locker system. And it is something too many of our schools are too far behind on upgrading. I am not describing the future or technology that we need to develop and create “some day.” This is lock and software technology we have had for some time.

My company, Lowe & Fletcher/Euro-Locks, developed electronic keypad operated (with key override) locks many years ago. Then, we took it a step further and developed the software interface I described above to remotely administer the lock codes and communicate with lock/locker users. We call it our RAS system; as in “Remote Allocation System.”

Our RAS system is affordable, continuing to be innovated and updated, and can be used in a variety of ways to save labor, increase security, improve customer service, and maintain safer environments. While this post focused on a typical K-12 school, the applications for using our locks and our RAS system go far beyond the education market.

Contact me for more information about using the Lowe & Fletcher/Euro-Locks RAS system with our electronic keypad locks on your lockers. It would be a good chance for me to share our 129 year history with you, and how our annual manufacturing of 65 million locks surpasses the output of some other big names in the industry–even some with antiquated 12 step processes to change a simple combination.

Photo by: Here