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4.14.23 – City Sentinel Staff Report- Oklahoma City

Two pieces of legislation designed to help improve school safety have been approved by the House committees and could be heard on the House floor in the coming weeks.

State Representative Dick Lowe, R-Amber, presented Senate Bill 100 to the House Common Education Committee and Senate Bill 101 to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee this week.

Both bills were approved unanimously.

Senate Bill 100 requires every school district to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment from the Oklahoma School Security Institute or a nationally qualified risk assessor by July 1, 2026, and every five years after.

The assessment must include recommendations for improving school security.

Under S.B.100, a district, university or CareerTech must undergo a risk assessment in order to be eligible for an Oklahoma School Security Grant.

If a school receives a School Security grant, it must spend grant money on items recommended by the risk assessor or provide de-escalation and behavioral threat assessment training to employees.

S.B. 101 requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to establish the School Resource Officer Grant Program, which will provide rural and underserved schools with startup grants for school resource officer (SRO) programs.

The measure requires any SRO participating in the grant program to complete the active shooter emergency response training provided by CLEET.

To qualify for a grant, a public school must:

* Employ an SRO or enter into a contract or memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a local law enforcement agency; and

* Provide 50 percent matching funds, which may be provided in partnership with a local law enforcement agency.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to school safety,” Lowe said.

“Senate Bill 100 would help identify areas of improvement for schools in the event of a threat, and Senate Bill 101 would provide grants to help schools hire school resource officers trained for active shooter emergencies.

“I’m encouraged by the support of these bills and look forward to presenting them both on the House floor soon.”

State Senator Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, guided successful efforts to advance the proposal in the upper chamber of the Legislature earlier this session.