Legislation to make Oklahoma’s schools and campuses safer is gaining national attention. State Sen. Todd Lamb was a featured speaker at the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) conference this month in Phoenix, Arizona.
NASRO is a not-for-profit organization for school based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security/safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff and the schools they attend. Lamb said he was amazed by the response from NASRO delegates to his presentation on his Oklahoma School Security Act.
“What we tried to do was develop a multifaceted approach to not only increase campus safety and improve emergency response, but we also wanted to avert behaviors such as bullying,” said Lamb, R-Edmond. “Now school administrators and security officers from around the country are interested in our legislation.”
Under SB 1941, schools will be required to practice lockdowns twice each year. The bill additionally places school administrators on regional Homeland Security Advisory boards, guaranteeing their voices are heard on important security related concerns. The measure also incorporates language regarding electronic communications under the state’s bullying statues. Under previous state law, electronic communications could not be considered bullying.
“We know there is a direct correlation between young people who are bullied and the possibility that those experiences can lead to tragedies like the deadly shootings at Columbine,” Lamb said. “That makes it extremely critical that we have the tools in place to stop bullying before it’s too late.”
Kevin Quinn is the spokesperson for NASRO, and said members were impressed with Lamb’s comprehensive safety plan, especially considering his background in law enforcement as a former agent for the Secret Service.
“That really made it hit home. This is someone who actually knows what he’s talking about,” Quinn said. “He’s been in law enforcement, and in his position in the Senate, he’s trying to get things passed that he knows will help law enforcement officers and schools around the country.”
Lamb said since returning from the conference, he’s been responding to requests for more information about his legislation.
“I really was not expecting the tremendous level of interest I’ve seen from school administrators and security officers from other states,” Lamb said. “Oklahomans can take pride in the fact that our legislature has passed a measure that could become a national model for promoting greater school safety.”