The Thursday arrest of a Lawton man who threatened to bomb schools in Lawton and Chickasha underscores the need to make schools safer for children and staff, Sen. Todd Lamb said Friday.
Lamb is the author of Senate Bill 1941, the Oklahoma School Security Act. The measure includes numerous provisions designed to make educational facilities more secure, reduce school violence and bullying and involve administrators in an effort to make their schools safer. The measure also eliminates the use of schools as polling places.
“I’m grateful this particular threat was neutralized, but it reinforces the need to improve security at our schools,” said Lamb, R-Oklahoma City. “We need to do everything in our power to ensure threats such as this one do not materialize and result in tragedy.”
SB 1941 would require that schools practice lockdowns three times each year. Under current law, schools are only required to practice lockdowns once each year. Lamb said the use of schools as polling places presents a security risk, as people can walk into schools without having to present identification. The bill would also ensure that school administrators have a place on regional Homeland Security Advisory boards.
Additionally, the measure contains 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 government, and that each threat to the safety of our children should make this clear to lawmakers.
“No parent should have to worry about the safety of their children when they send them to our schools,” Lamb said. “It’s our responsibility as lawmakers to do everything in our power to avert a tragedy and preserve the safety of our children and school staff.”
The Senate Education Committee approved SB 1941 on Monday, and the bill will now be considered by the full Senate.