KGOU

School Districts Work Within Their Budgets To Address Safety

Jul 23, 2018

This fall, the 25,000 students attending Moore Public Schools will get new identification badges that grant access to school buildings. The new security measure was made possible by $420,000 in private donations, according to Clayton Ramick, Executive Director of the Moore School’s Foundation.

“After Parkland it just clicked with this community that we needed to step up,” Ramick said.

The Moore Schools Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to managing the district’s endowment and raising money. In addition to the new building access system, the district will implement a new communication network that will connect school administrators directly to law enforcement. Additionally, windows on school buildings will receive reflective tinting.

But about 150 miles away, in Hartshorne, in southeastern Oklahoma, school safety is taking a different form.

“We're in a rural setting,” explained Jason Lindley, the superintendent of Hartshorne Public Schools. “We have local law enforcement, but to coordinate with them is almost impossible, because they have one officer on duty at any given time, maybe two.”

Lindley says his school board passed a policy in June allowing teachers to carry guns at school because they couldn’t afford the $90,000 it would cost for two private security guards for the coming school year.

“Cost was an issue,” Lindley said. “And, I mean, you hate to say that, but you have to be able to budget it in and afford it and still educate kids.”

Lindley says the decision came after two years of discussions between parents and administrators.

“It was a hard thing. There were people that felt like we should have done this two years ago, and there's people that feel like we should never do this,” Lindley said.

Following the 2013 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Oklahoma lawmakers created the Oklahoma School Security Institute. The agency offers free safety assessments for all schools, but it’s still up to districts to work within their budgets to address safety.

 

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