The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 17, 2013

We hope several new measures will help create safe learning environments


Enid News & Eagle

— We hope legislation aimed at increasing school safety will accomplish its goals.

Several measures followed last year’s horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed four of them into law.

One bill would create a school safety division within the state’s Office of Homeland Security to coordinate with districts seeking safety information, according to The Associated Press.

The others would reportedly tell schools to share emergency plans with local responders, run intruder drills each semester and report any firearms found on their campuses.

“The passage of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security bills … illustrates the extraordinary commitment Oklahoma’s policymakers have to our students,” Enid native Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said in a previously emailed statement.

“I’m also reminded that we must as a state continually address school security. No one policy or bill can prevent all evil.”

Cynical critics have suggested these were politically motivated efforts to bang the drum, but we hope that wasn’t the case.

More than a dozen school officials and law enforcement officers, from the state’s largest and smallest school districts, told AP the laws won’t make schools much safer because they already collaborate extensively with local emergency responders, hold lockdown drills and seek training from the state’s Office of Homeland Security.

Many officials said they have done this for years.

Lamb, who convened the Oklahoma Commission on School Security, told AP some — but not all — districts already are performing some of these responsibilities.

Time will tell if we see safer schools. At least we’re glad the commission didn’t force-feed unfunded mandates. We hope this is another step in the right direction for school security.