A state task force created after the deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school is giving their recommendations to lawmakers to prevent similar attacks in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Commission on School Security has five recommendations for legislative action. They include creating an Oklahoma School Security Institute that would coordinate and standardize security procedures statewide. The group estimates it would cost 500-thousand dollars to create the institute. Other recommendations include a mental health training program... Mandatory safety drills... And a school security tip line.
The frequency of critical incidents at schools keeps districts constantly on alert. Procedures and protocols continue to evolve and so does security equipment. Thirty-seven Tulsa elementary schools are on track for security upgrades like Jones Elementary School. Technicians have been here for several days installing security cameras. It's one more school the district is making safer.
"I think they're a lot safer now than they were a few years ago," says parent Debbie Coble.
Jones Elementary School has made a lot improvements as it relates to providing a secure environment for children. It's what every parents wants.
"They have a security alarm here where they have to be buzzed in with a camera where they can see you," says Coble.
New cameras are installed outside Jones. This effort started long before the deadly Newtown shootings. It was a 20-10 Tulsa school bond issue that outfitted buildings with video cameras and more secured doors.
"We have to make sure our campuses are secure, that they're safe so that our students can indeed learn," says Tulsa Public School's, Dr. Oliver Wallace.
Security measures have been heightened in recent months and Wallace says the district has gone deeper into how it views procedures and protocols regarding visitors to its school buildings.
"We are at a point where we must secure all kids and teachers are able to teach effectively without any worry," says Wallace.
It's parents who worry too that the security and safety of all kids aren't the priority they should be when budgets are tight.
"this is a priority. This is I believe most parents feel that's their life and they would be completely devastated if anything happened to their children, I know I would be," adds Coble.
School security is always going to be a work in progress evolving as our society changes and the need arises.