Oklahoma Legislators Launch Commission on School Security

OKLAHOMA CITY — Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and House Speaker-elect T.W. Shannon announced Dec. 20 the formation of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security.

“In light of recent events, the time has come for us to assess the current school security system in Oklahoma,” Lamb said. “The Oklahoma Commission on School Security will provide an avenue for some of Oklahoma’s finest to collaborate towards a common goal. With the right knowledge and resources, we can effectively provide a safer school climate for our most precious commodity.”

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and House Democratic Leader Scott Inman have agreed to work with Republican leadership to form a non-partisan commission. The purpose of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security will be to study a number of school security factors and to provide suggestions and possible legislative recommendations for the 2013 legislative session. Some initial issues to be discussed within the commission’s study will include current school safety measures, local control and local empowerment and mental health.

“What took place in Newtown, an act of pure evil, is still so hard for all of us as Americans to understand,” Burrage said. “As legislative leaders in Oklahoma, we feel the right thing to do is come together in a non-partisan way to look at how we might be able to create safer classrooms for our kids. We must address the physical security of our school facilities, as well as very challenging mental health issues. I look forward to the recommendations of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security.”

Lamb began the initial steps in increasing school security when he was in the Oklahoma State Senate and the principal author of the Oklahoma School Security Act. The act, Senate Bill 1941, required schools to practice lockdowns two times a year. The measure additionally defined electronic communication as a form of bullying. The Oklahoma School Security Act also created a place on regional Homeland Security Advisory boards for school administrators.

As a former United States Secret Service Agent, Lamb will bring his law enforcement experience and serve as chair of the commission, working with legislative leaders to appoint commission members in the coming weeks. Various backgrounds will be represented on the commission to include homeland security, local police, local school personnel, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and mental health.

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