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When Clifton Coates started as principal of Coolidge Senior High School last summer, he completed a walk-through of his new bailiwick. Many of the exterior doors, he noticed, were broken—some missing “panic bar” latches, others failing to lock properly—allowing visitors to bypass the metal-detector-equipped main entrance. A handful of the doors had been chained shut, in violation of fire codes, and a D.C. Public Schools facilities-inspection team determined that no fewer than 64 exterior doors were broken. Coates says he immediately got rid of the chains, then had custodians jury-rig bolts so that doors could be locked from the inside. After months of prodding, the system came through with a partial fix last month: About a dozen new panic bars arrived, enough to repair the worst of the doors. “Safety and security of the students, that’s the issue for me,” says Coates. —Mike DeBonis