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State Representatives Meet With School Officials On Safety Issue

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RUSH SPRINGS, Okla_In light of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut, schools across Oklahoma and the entire nation are desperate for solutions on how to end school violence.

And in an effort to find answers, State Representative Joe Dorman is doing his part to reach out to the community and keep the conversation open between state lawmakers and school administrators.

Educators from across the state gathered in Dorman's home town of Rush Springs Saturday afternoon, where he fielded questions and suggestions from superintendents, teachers and counselors.

The faces that filled the auditorium of Rush Springs High School were those of educators and resource officers who watch after Oklahoma's students throughout the school year.

And that's why it is so important to State Representative Joe Dorman to get out and hear what they'd like to be done about school safety.

"This topic about school safety, potentially introducing guns into the school environment, it's something we need to have as much conversation as possible with, especially with the people who'd be directly impacted," said Dorman.

There were people from Oklahoma City, Sterling, Norman and more and even a second State Representative, Justin Wood.

"My mother's a teacher, a second grade teacher so this whole situation is very close to my heart, " said Wood.

Taking turns the two heard what educators had to say. Many adamantly against having guns in schools, and almost all in favor of having resource officers in every building.

But what they all could agree on is that something must be done to prevent another violent attack, and it that it must be done now.

But there are some challenges.

"We're going to have to come up with the funding system to make any of this happen, " said Dorman, "And I know people don't want to increase taxes, I know they don't want to try and find different ways to pass revenue, but the simple fact is we have to pay for any of the changes we make."

Currently Dorman is working on a bill that will allow individual districts to make the best decisions for their schools.

"It would allow each of the local school districts to submit a plan to the voters, and say we need this much money to either hire a resource officer at the school, put up better security standards as far as individuals being buzzed into the schools so they simply can't walk in, " Dorman explained. 

He says the lack of funds is no excuse to let violence continue in schools. But because it takes time for the money to come, those in attendance agreed that ethical changes can and must be made starting immediately at home and in society.

The representatives hope to keep the communication channels open and are committed to working together, regardless of political affiliation, to make Oklahoma schools the safest they can be.

"It's about my constituents. It's about making the state of Oklahoma a safer place for our students and a safer place for our teachers, " Wood said.

Dorman is planning more meetings for the future and hopes participation continues to grow.

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