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Area schools implement increased and improved safety measures

New security fence surrounding Moffett School.

Thursday, June 22, 2023 - Last month, House Bills 2903 and 2904 were approved in Oklahoma, bringing new safety protocols and funding to every school district within the state.

House Bill 2903 was approved as a three-year pilot program aimed at enhancing school safety and the well-being of all Oklahoma students.

House Bill 2904 provides the funding component of the program, allocating $96,000 per year to public-school districts in the state. The funding will enable schools to hire school resource officers or implement security measures such as cameras, gates, locks, doors, and windows.

To ensure comprehensive safety measures, the legislation requires more than 2,000 school sites in Oklahoma to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment by the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI) or a qualified assessor. Assessments are to be conducted by July 1, 2026, and thereafter every five years, to help schools identify ways to improve facility security.

The Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office has been working with area school districts to assist them in meeting their needs for school resource officers (SROs).

Sequoyah County Undersheriff Charles House stated, "Right now we have Central, Moffett, Brushy, Liberty, and Gans taken care of for the new school year with SROs that will be on campus five days a week at each school. Marble City and Belfonte recently reached out to Sheriff Lane, so he is currently working to make that happen."

In addition, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will also be supporting Oklahoma schools through their presence on school campuses each week, providing additional security.

Moffett School didn’t waste any time before getting to work on implementing the new security measures on their campus.

"I welcome this change and see no issues with the additional presence of law enforcement on our school campus," Superintendent of Moffett School Lance Stuart said. "Safety improvements began as soon as school let out for the summer break. We have already had a fence installed that goes around the perimeter of the school and will lock from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. Visitors or children being dropped off late will have no other option but to go through the main office to gain access to our campus."

The new safety protocols and funding provided by House Bill 2903 and House Bill 2904 demonstrate a significant investment in school safety in Oklahoma. With the establishment of the School Resource Officer Program and the implementation of security upgrades, parents can have greater confidence in the safety of their children at school.

Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer

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