PM NewsBrief: Nov. 17, 2022
This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
Behavior risk survey paints grim picture for Oklahoma teens' mental health
The State Department of Health published its annual youth health risk survey on Wednesday. The results paint a grim picture for Oklahoma teens and their mental health.
Health officials send the survey materials to 50 randomly selected high schools statewide, and students in grades 9-12 are allowed to participate. It’s called the youth risk behavior survey because it monitors behaviors that are tied to bad health outcomes down the line, like smoking and struggles with mental health.
For 2021, it found nearly one in four respondents had contemplated suicide recently. Among girls, that rate was closer to one in three.
This year’s survey was the first to monitor Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACEs: negative life events that are also tied to worse health outcomes. About 80% said they’d experienced at least one. Nearly 20% said they’ve seen someone physically assaulted in their neighborhood. More than one third reported living with someone who was struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.
Richard Fairchild executed earlier today
An Oklahoma man who killed his girlfriend’s three-year-old child almost 30 years ago was executed Thursday morning.
Richard Fairchild’s execution follows the Pardon and Parole Board denying him a recommendation of clemency last month - in favor of arguments from representatives of the Attorney General’s office and wishes of the family of the victim, Adam Broomhall, and despite testimony from a neuropsychologist describing Farichild’s schizophrenia.
Additionally, more than two dozen Christian clergy are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma. Former Pardon and Parole Board member Adam Luck also signed onto the statement claiming the death penalty conflicts with their religious beliefs.
Twenty-two more death row inmates are scheduled to be executed through the end of 2024.
Cherokee Nation delegate hearing
On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee held a hearing about whether or not they will seat a treaty-mandated delegate from the Cherokee Nation to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. talked about the history of the Treaty of New Echota, signed in 1835. This treaty forced the removal of thousands of Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. But, it also promised the tribal nation would have a delegate in the U.S. House.
Hoskin Jr. nominated Kim Teehee to serve as the Cherokee Nation’s first delegate as part of his “First 100 Days in Office” initiative in 2019
"Mr. Chairman, tribes, tribal organizations and tribal citizens across the country strongly support our effort. They understand that fulfilling this promise would be an historic victory for treaty rights and sovereignty," said Hoskin Jr.
The delegate position has the support of tribal nations across the United States even though Teehee wouldn't be a voting member of the house of representatives
It's not clear when or if Congress will seat Teehee.
New school reporting system leads to increase in complaints
A new reporting system launched in late October allows Oklahomans to report problems at schools. The new system has led to an increase in complaints.
The new portal system, Awareity, allows anyone to report an issue in schools on a wide range of topics - like curriculum and instruction to fraud and embezzlement.
The State Department of Education says since the portal went live on Oct. 26, there have been a total of 24 reports received. 8 of those reports involved bullying and another 7 were for issues with professional standards or educator conduct.
Other reports that were filed include issues with safety and security, child nutrition, civil rights and more.
The portal allows people to report anonymously, but so far 16 of the total reports have been filed by parents or guardians.
Beggs Public Schools forced to go remote due to no water
In the Northeast Oklahoma town of Beggs, drinking water has been unreliable for months. The problem has come to a head recently as students in the local school district have attended virtual class while their school building was without water.
Beggs Public Schools teachers posted homework on a Facebook page. Students worked from home, even though some didn’t have water there either. Virtual learning started on Nov. 4, and students only returned to classrooms on Wednesday.
This isn’t the first time Beggs has had to close school because of water issues. Students also went into virtual learning for three days in September.
Mayor Jacob Branson told News 8 in Tulsa the city’s pipes run uphill from the water plant. It takes a lot of energy to pump water to residents, and Branson says OG&E hasn’t been supplying enough power.
This has left Beggs without consistent access to water for months. The city is looking into installing more efficient infrastructure, but those improvements will be pricey.
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