Oklahoma House considers school safety measures

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 6:36 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Following recent shootings, school safety has been at the top of everyone’s mind, including Oklahoma lawmakers.

The state’s House Common Education Committee and the House Appropriations and Budget Committee unanimously approved multiple bills in hopes to increase school security.

State Representative Trey Caldwell said, “This is something that is not a political issue, it’s just making sure that these local, smaller schools have the resources to be able to afford that level of safety.”

The first bill (SB100) will require all schools to go through a risk assessment every five years.

“That way we’re making sure if there is a problem out there, if we do have a weakness in our school systems then we can address that as a legislative body and local school boards can address that as well,” said Rep. Caldwell.

Superintendent of Cache Public Schools Chad Hance is in full support of legislation trying to make schools a safer place. He said, “Having somebody come from the outside that’s an expert in that, and give you some suggestions to help secure your building. That’s very beneficial. You can’t argue that that would not be something that benefits students and benefits teachers.”

The second bill (SB101) discusses helping rural and underserved schools employ a school resource officer.

Caldwell said, “The reason they don’t have those officers on site is because of the affordability factor, so just trying to help that process along.”

“A lot of times when we talk about schools having resource officers, they have to make a tough decision. Do I fund to have a resource officer, or do I provide a reading teacher or a math teacher,” said Hance.

These bills will hopefully be presented to the House floor within the next few weeks.

The overall goal is to help parents, students, and schools focus on education rather than worrying about safety.

“The overwhelming concern that a lot of parents have is that when they drop their kids off, they want to know that their kids are going to be safe and that they’re going to pick them up again,” said Rep. Caldwell. “I think that we as a legislative body and our local school board. I think its a duty that we have to hold on to, and make sure we’re doing everything in our power to make sure that happens.”