Fallin signs School Security laws
Published: April 16th, 2013
Gov. Mary Fallin has signed four new laws designed to improve school security. Joining her at a public bill signing was Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, chairman of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security, other commissioners, and legislative leaders.
“The state of Oklahoma has a duty to do everything we can to keep our children safe,” Fallin said. “The bills signed into law today will ensure that schools are well prepared for emergencies of all kinds.”
The bills signed today by Fallin included:
· S.B. 256, requiring school districts to conduct lockdown drills in addition to fire, intruder, and tornado emergency drill
· S.B. 257, directing the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security to designate a division within the agency as the Oklahoma School Security Institute – to act as a central hub of information and resources related to school security and risk assessments to campuses
· S.B. 258, creating an annual deadline of Nov. 1 for institutions of higher learning to provide reports to emergency responders and agencies with details of updated plans for protecting students, faculty and visitors from disasters and emergencies
· S.B. 259, requiring school authorities to immediately report to law enforcement if a firearm is discovered on a student that is not a minor or an adult that isn’t authorized to possess a firearm on school property. Also, the bill dictates the weapon in question to be delivered to law enforcement.
“I thank the Governor for her signatures on these bills which stemmed from the recommendations from the Oklahoma Commission on School Security,” Lamb said.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, sponsored the measures in House, and originally created the School Security Commission with President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and Lt. Gov. Lamb.
When the proposals passed the House, Shannon commented, “Our children are precious and we must take the necessary steps to protect them while they are spending the day at school learning.”
“My hope has been and continues to be the development of forward-thinking proposals to address the issues surrounding school safety. While recognizing no single policy proposal can prevent all potential acts of evil, I do believe we can be proactive in providing greater resources for teachers, administrators, and mental health professionals in Oklahoma schools,” said President Pro Temp Bingman when the commission’s report was released.
In a column released at conclusion of the commission’s work, Lamb recalled, “I previously served as a special agent with the United States Secret Service. As state senator, I was the principal author of the Oklahoma School Security Act. School security has been a focus of mine for many years.
“[Commission] members sacrificed their time and provided their expertise to conduct a several week comprehensive analysis of this very important issue. Meetings included speaker testimony and discussion on the various factors related to school security including but not limited to public safety, access control, physical assessments, training, mental health and local control.”
The 2013 Report of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security can be viewed in its entirety online at www.ok.gov/ltgovernor.