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The Morning Bell: There's a school shooting about once a week

Good Wednesday morning. 

I'll be spending most of the day at the OASA / CCOSA legislative conference in Oklahoma City. I'll be tweeting interesting takeaways, including from a panel that will include high-ranking lawmakers serving on the state Senate and House committees on education and public school appropriations. 

I would expect the need for a teacher pay raise to be a common theme, which the state Department of Education is including in it's proposed budget this legislative session. 

Kentucky school shooting the 11th of the year

A school shooting in Benton, Ky., on Tuesday left two students dead. According to the New York Times, it was the 11th school shooting of 2018. 

Researchers and gun control advocates say that since 2013, they have logged school shootings at a rate of about one a week.

“We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue,” Katherine W. Schweit, a former senior F.B.I. official and the co-author of a study of 160 active shooting incidents in the United States, told the New York Times.

Private schools reserve right to reject disabled students

Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch recently took a look at discrimination protections for students at private schools and the lack of clear policies. 

"...a check of websites for more than 80 (tax-credit tuition scholarship) private schools by Oklahoma Watch found that just seven post policies saying they won’t discriminate in admissions against children with disabilities.

"Several schools are explicit about reserving the right to reject students whose disabilities the schools say they are unable to accommodate."

Flu continues to close Oklahoma schools

Bray-Doyle Public Schools in Stephens County was closed Monday and Tuesday because of a high amount of flu-related absences, reports KSWO. The district’s superintendent said it took two days to disinfect the school and allow students to get well. Oklahoma is one of at least 12 states where schools have closed because of the flu, reports The 74 Million. More from The 74 Million:A study of flu-related school closures in Japan released in 2009 found that the optimal time to close a school was when the flu-related absentee rate hits 5 percent for one day or 3 to 4 percent for two or more days. However, researchers noted that school leaders in the U.S. often do not rely on quantitative data for school-closing decisions and instead make “a political or fear-based decision rather than a data-based one.”

Teacher by day, photographer at night

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise recently wrote about Bartlesville High School teacher Lyndsey Stuart, who has a second job as a photographer. 

“It was a really difficult decision, because now on top of being a mom and a teacher, I have to balance owning my own business,” said Stuart, who started Lyndsey Stuart Photography about a year ago.

“I’m almost able to make what I make as a teacher,” she said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one year of photography would equate to one year of teaching and it shouldn’t.”

OKCPS employee resigns, position cut

A suspended human resources officer for Oklahoma City Public Schools has resigned and his position is being eliminated by the district, according to Superintendent Aurora Lora.

Director of Employee Engagement Shane Keenan was suspended with pay Dec. 4 while the district investigated undisclosed allegations.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›