The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 27, 2013

Study the school security issue seriously and with common sense

ENID, Okla. — Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb says not a single recommendation from the Oklahoma Commission on School Security has received a single “no” vote.

The Enid native, who serves as the commission’s chairman, told The Associated Press the Oklahoma Legislature considers school security a nonpartisan issue. It should be.

On Tuesday, a state House committee approved legislation requiring Oklahoma public schools to conduct drills to prepare students and teachers for possible intruders.

The measure passed 16-0 out of the House Education Committee.

The bill would require our public schools to conduct at least two intruder drills each school year to avoid casualties by an armed intruder. Each drill would be conducted during the first 15 days each semester.

Other recommendations reportedly include creating a statewide school security institute to coordinate and standardize school security procedures. Our state program would operate under the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security with a price tag of about $500,000 to launch, according to The Associated Press.

It would act as the lead agency in providing security and training and could expand its work to include security officers and architectural design to make sites safer.

Other recommendations include mental health training for staff and requiring that unauthorized weapons discovered on school grounds be reported to the proper authorities.

How far do you go?

In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, lawmakers in Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon are considering allowing teachers and school administrators to carry firearms at school, according to AP.

This would follow the Texas model.

We’re not convinced giving teachers guns in the classroom is a wise idea. We hope the Legislature studies the school security issue seriously and with a healthy dose of common sense.

We don’t need a knee-jerk response, and we don’t need 11th-hour votes that usher in unintended consequences.

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