The Fallacy of Red and Green Blackout Shades

There is no debate that blackout shades are a vital component in keeping classrooms safe during active shooter threats. The final report of The Federal Commission on School Safety released earlier this year called for school districts to make classrooms “harder” targets. One specific step was by covering windows to block classroom views from outside threats.


Our team at ALP has been manufacturing, marketing, and selling lockdown shades for more than six years. We understand the importance of protecting students and teachers, and we have vigorously promoted the value of using blackout shades in classrooms. Within the past year some school districts have discussed the use of red and green shades as a method of quickly notifying first responders that students in the classroom are safe or might need medical attention. While we understand the rationale, we do not support it – in studies and tests we’ve found that the simplest and most effective procedure is to lock the doors, drop the shades, and turn off the lights. Shades that call attention to individual classrooms can easily become targets for active shooters. We support safety procedures that involve other means of communicating injuries to first responders.


We manufacture our patented classroom blackout shades only in black. In numerous tests we have determined that black is the best choice for completely blocking out classroom views. Any other color – no matter how dark – will still let enough light through that an active shooter will be able to see images or shadowing inside the classroom, which can put students and teachers at risk.


There is no “one-size fits-all” approach to school safety, and the most effective school safety plans can involve a number of different components (including visitor management systems, SRO’s, and effective door locks). But an important first step is having the right blackout shade that securely and effectively covers the window, stays in place, and does not expose the classroom to outside threats.


No other shade has proven to be more effective at quickly and securely covering classroom windows than ALP Lockdown Shades.