More than 1,500 students were stranded for several hours at schools across Mississippi last August after a federal immigration sweep of local businesses led to the arrest of nearly 700 undocumented citizens. To avoid such a possible traumatic incident for Oklahoma students, Oklahoma City Public Schools requested Senate Bill 1711 to create the Oklahoma Standby Guardianship Act. The bill by Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma, was approved Tuesday by the Senate.
“When parents are unexpectedly arrested because of immigration or other legal issues, their children can get stranded at school or daycare because there are no other guardians who can legally pick them up,” Brooks said. “This is a proactive measure to allow parents to select someone to be prepared should such an incident ever occur. This is just a matter of protecting their children and ensuring they’re with a trusted friend or family member and somewhere safe until their legal issues are resolved.”
The bill would allow a parent to put in writing a legal standby guardian and give the named individual the same authority of the parent while they are incarcerated or detained. The guardian would have authority to make all legal decisions for the child once the triggering event occurred and the necessary documentation and consent was received from the courts and parent.
Several other states, including Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have standby guardianship laws to protect children.
MAKE IT COUNT OKLAHOMA! Census Day is April 1 and Oklahoma needs a full count. An undercount in the census of just 2 percent can cost the state $1.8 billion in lost federal money over the next 10 years. Fill out your census form, Oklahoma. Learn more at:www.2020census.gov.