A bill to protect students and victims of violent crime from their attackers was signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1597 by Sen. Charlie Laster, will protect the rights of juvenile victims by limiting contact between attackers and school-age victims of violent crime.
“This law ensures that victims of violent crime will be notified if an adjudicated juvenile offender returns to school, and gives the student the option of telling the school they wish to avoid contact with their attacker,” said Laster, D-Shawnee.
Under previous law, school districts were not required to inform victims that their attacker was returning to school, noted Laster.
“A child who was been a victim of violent crime should not have to go to school and see their attacker sitting across from them in a classroom,” Laster said. “This law ensures that alternative arrangements will be made available to students and faculty.
Anne Roberts, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, said the bill provides important reforms to keep schools safe. “School should be a safe place for a child to learn and grow,” said Roberts. “This bill provides a balanced approach to keep both students in school, with the chance to learn valuable life lessons.”
“The important child welfare provisions of this measure have been much-needed, and I am pleased the Governor has signed the bill into law,” said Laster.