Viral Post Showing How to Bar a Classroom Door With a Chair Spurs Debate

A widely shared video showing a "trick" for how a chair can be used to lock a shooter out of a classroom has stirred an online debate over how the U.S. should handle school safety.

The clip shows an unnamed man wedging the leg of a classroom chair against a door handle and wall to seal off a room. Posted by Twitter user RobbBeaux, the video has been retweeted more than 16,000 times and provides a window into the desperation for solutions to school shootings after a gunman killed 22 at an elementary school in Texas last week.

The video's responses reflect arguments between those advocating school "hardening" measures and others calling for stricter gun laws.

"It sucks I even have to share this," RobbBeaux wrote in the tweet. "But just in case."

The footage shows a man wearing a bright yellow safety vest standing near a door holding a small chair commonly used in an elementary school classroom. He lifts up the chair and slides one of its thin metal legs between the doorknob and the door. He then twists it, so the chair's side is pressed against the wall securing the door.

The man advises viewers to mark the leg to be wedged against the door with "glitter" or "googly eyes," so it's clear which one to use.

"This thing is solid; it's not going anywhere," the man says in the video. "And that took me what? Two seconds."

Last week's deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has reopened debates about school safety. Republicans and gun rights advocates have argued that increased security and armed teachers at schools will stop shootings. Democrats, gun control advocates and security experts, however, have called the approach impractical, saying schools would resemble prisons and other high-security environments.

"Rather have my teacher trained / armed & ready to protect my kid," Twitter user TRIGGA said in response to the video.

Tweeter Melody, meanwhile, answered with a meme showing young children walking along a fence with razor wire to a school's entrance where armored guards await them. The building is labeled "Cruz Elementary," a reference to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has called for school hardening over gun control.

Other commenters wondered about the practicality of using a chair to block the door, noting how shooters have acquired high-powered weapons.

Investigator at Robb Elementary School
An investigator walks past broken classroom windows at Robb Elementary School, the site of the May 24th mass shooting on May 30, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

"So you telling me an AR15 with 100 rounds can't shoot the knob off?" Twitter user RXRDBOY wrote.

"What's your plan?" Twitter user Knickers reacted. "Given this or nothing, you choose nothing? It could work. It might. It might not. Doing nothing will NOT work. So, you get shot for sure. Not maybes. For sure. The chair classroom getting shot, maybe not. Also, what's your plan?"

Calls to pass gun control legislation following the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting have stalled in Congress. Since then, schools have come up with plans and training for how students and teachers should react to shootings. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have issued guides for how companies and schools can prepare for shooters. Both advise employees and students to flee shooters, hide from them using a locked door (if possible), and fight as a last resort.

Another online commenter said it would be better to have "at least one or two armed cops on every campus instead of hiding on the side of the roads giving out speeding tickets but that wouldn't make them any money."

But Twitter user James pointed out that police in Uvalde, Texas, were criticized for their hands-off approach to the shooting.

Commenter Cam Mel said: "The guy is just offering 1 solution to help buy some time. At least he's trying to do something!"

Newsweek has reached out to the FBI for comment.