4 Okla. School Safety Laws Await Governor’s Signature
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Four bills authored by Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon related to the issue of school safety passed full votes of the House Thursday.
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., late last year, Speaker Shannon, President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Lt. Governor Todd Lamb created the Oklahoma Commission on School Security. The Commission submitted a report to state leaders detailing suggestions on things the state of Oklahoma can do to make its schools safer and more secure. These four bills are a direct result of that report.
Senate Bill 256 would require school districts to conduct lockdown drills in addition to fire, intruder, and tornado emergency drill.
With the passage of Senate Bill 257, the “Oklahoma School Security Institute” is one step closer to reality. SB 257 directs the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security to designate a division within the office as the OSSI. The Institute would act as a central hub of information and resources related to school security and risk assessments to campuses. Objectives and goals of the Institute include: maximization of school security and training; implementation of safety drills and facilitation of information related to school safety.
Creating a hard deadline date for school administrators of Nov. 1 annually, Senate Bill 258 requires 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.
Senate Bill 259 would require 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.
The measures now move to the governor’s desk for final consideration.
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