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Representative Talks with Educators, Law Enforcement for Brainstorm on School Safety
State Rep. Joe Dorman, D- Rush Springs, invited state lawmakers, educators and law enforcement to a discussion on school safety. The issue will be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative session which kicks off in Oklahoma next month.
The talk about security comes after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
"When you see the slaughter of innocent children, the outcry of injustice is very loud and that's why its brought it to the forefront," said Ginger Tinney, the executive director for the Professional Oklahoma Educators.
Tinney was just one of the about two-dozen people who attended the discussion at Rush Springs High School. It was a relaxed setting, offering all in attendance a chance to talk openly about their ideas.
"Of all of the discussions I've heard so far with the politics both at the national level and with the state, we haven't heard much coming from the teachers, the administrators, the school board members and they're going to be the ones directly impacted in any of the changes we make," Rep. Dorman said.
Dorman said laws that come after the Sandy Hook shooting, need to be thoughtful. He said its important to get input from experts and educators. Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer agreed.
"I'm concerned that we need to make some decisions pretty quickly, but at the same time I don't think we need to knee jerk this. I think this is something that will give us an opportunity to do something really good, and to raise the level of security," Springer said.
Police officers are on duty at every Oklahoma City school. Middle and high schools also have metal detectors. While Springer said his district is ahead of the curve on this issue, he said the district could always improve. He said Saturday's meeting also opened his eyes to the the issues at rural school districts. Rep. Doorman is proposing a bill to help these, and all, Oklahoma schools get funding for safety measures.
"I'm working on a legislation right now that would allow each individual school district to run a separate type of bond that would increase standards for school safety, and possibly hire resource officers. And today's conversation certainly gave me different ideas of things that we need to include in that bill and things we need to make certain happen," Dorman said.
Dorman urges anyone with ideas on how to improve safety at schools to contact their lawmakers.
The deadline to file a bill in Oklahoma is Thursday.
Posted: Sunday, January 13 2013, 10:10 AM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Forecasters: Potential tornado threat for Oklahoma
May 18, 2013 19:41 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Forecasters with the National Weather Service say severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are to move across much of Oklahoma.
Northwestern Oklahoma, including the Woodward area, faces the greatest threat late Saturday. On Sunday, the storm system is forecast to progress eastward, affecting Oklahoma City and Tulsa and areas in between.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman says there is a moderate risk of tornadoes Saturday in western Oklahoma. The threat area stretches north across Kansas and well into Nebraska.
A slight risk of severe storms reaches into central Oklahoma for Saturday night.
Sunday's moderate threat extends from south-central Oklahoma, through eastern Kansas and into western Missouri.
The Storm Prediction Center says the forecast map is still developing and that wind conditions that bring tornadoes could develop rapidly.
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