301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

6.24.22 – News 9 — OKLAHOMA CITY

Governor Kevin Stitt announced the signing of an executive order Thursday focused on shoring up security at Oklahoma schools.

Following the recent mass shootings across the nation, Governor Kevin Stitt wanted to look at how resources were being used across Oklahoma. After speaking with law enforcement officials, Stitt said resources were being underutilized.

The seven-point plan addresses how teachers, students and law enforcement officers respond to mass violence.

Public and private schools will have access to evaluations geared towards security in schools and looking into behavioral health of students and staff.

Stitt said the Oklahoma School Security Institute will handle the trainings.

“There are signs that these people will give off. They may talk to a classmate. They may talk to a parent. This is a tool by which the school can now sit down and assess that threat to see, if they have the means to do it, they capabilities to do it,” OSSI program manager Gary Shelton said.

The executive order also takes a look at how law enforcement agencies can improve on securing Oklahoma schools. By the beginning of next year, all state troopers are required to complete active shooter response training.

“If we’re all trained the same way, it doesn’t matter what uniform we wear,” OHP trooper Eric Foster said. “We can move very quickly and very efficiently and that’s the purpose behind it.”

When responding to calls, Foster said they may include multiple agencies that act as one unit. Foster sees the executive order as a way for all agencies to better eliminate a threat.

Starting Sept. 1, every district will be equipped with a panic button for use in critical situations, but both a student and an administrator said the executive order is all smoke and mirrors.

“The order is insinuating that teachers aren’t doing their jobs well enough instead of directly addressing the issue at hand, which is gun regulations,” Alasia Smith said.

“My students and my teachers that are in the building lives are too important for a panic button,” Rodney Cox said. “Panic buttons are put in banks all over the United States all over the world, but we still have over 4,000 robberies that occur in banks.”

Norman Public Schools issued a statement about the RAVE panic button.

“Norman Public Schools is proud to have been one of Oklahoma’s pioneer users of the RAVE Panic Button app. In fact, when Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister announced in 2019 the app would be made available to Oklahoma schools free of charge, she held her press event at Norman North High School.

The RAVE app gives users the ability to simultaneously connect with 911 and first responders and send a text alert to school staff in the event of an emergency. When activated, the Rave Panic Button app delivers critical data such as location and school layouts to 911 and first responders, enabling them to coordinate a faster, more effective response to any type of school emergency. Norman Public Schools has already seen the app utilized by staff on numerous occasions and we believe in some cases it may have even saved lives.

The safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority and I know the same is true in every school district across the state. This is one more critical tool we can use to be prepared for whatever situations may arise and to keep our students and staff safe.”