The state senate on Wednesday approved a comprehensive measure intended to make Oklahoma schools safer. Senate Bill 1941, the Oklahoma School Security Act, includes numerous provisions to secure school facilities, reduce school violence and bullying and involve school administrators in making their schools safer places for students and staff.
Sen. Todd Lamb, author of the bill, said it was imperative that the Legislature take action to reduce the frequency of violent crime and bullying in schools.
“Passage of this bill is an important first step toward making our schools safer,” said Lamb, R-Edmond. “We have a responsibility to ensure our schools are safe environments for students and educators. Parents should never have to worry for the safety of their children when they are at our schools.”
SB 1941 would require that schools practice lockdowns two times each year. Under current law, schools are only required to practice lockdowns once each year. The bill would also ensure that school administrators have a place on regional Homeland Security Advisory boards.
Additionally, the measure includes provisions to reduce, and more effectively police, bullying. The Oklahoma School Security Act would add electronic communications to the state’s bullying statutes. Electronic communications cannot be considered bullying under current law.
Lamb said the safety and security of the state’s most vulnerable citizens should be the first priority of any government, and that the Legislature must do everything in its power to reduce the risk of tragedy.
“After the Columbine tragedy several years ago, the United States Department of Education conducted a study and found that 71 percent of school shootings were perpetrated by victims of bullying,” Lamb said. “Given those findings, it’s important that we give local school districts the chance to address the issue. I’m pleased the Senate voted in favor of the bill and look forward to its implementation in our schools.”
SB 1941 now advances to the Governor’s desk.