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Morning Bell: Safety conversations follow another school shooting

Good Friday morning. Earlier this week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told senators in a hearing on Capitol Hill that the federal school safety commission she leads won't examine the role of guns in school violence, despite a prior White House statement that the commission's work will include examining age restrictions on certain firearms purchases, reports Education Week

"That is not part of the commission's charge per se," DeVos told lawmakers.

When Oklahoma state Board of Education members discussed school safety last month, guns were also not part of the conversation. 

Instead, school building design standards and identifying troubled students were topics discussed in the wake of another school shooting that resulted in multiple casualties.

During a school safety presentation at its May 24 meeting, board members held an open discussion about ways to better protect schools from gun violence.

But most of the ideas tossed around would require legislative action and some board members remarked on how little power they felt they had in preventing a school shooting in Oklahoma.

"We don't know what we are talking about, I don't think," said board member Leo Baxter, whose frustration comes as the nation has seen several school shootings this year.

To be fair, there isn't much in the way of gun control that the state board could offer, but it was an interesting conversation that revealed where the thoughts of board members are following another school shooting. 

21st Century Community Learning Centers grants

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is seeking applications from schools and community organizations for 2018-19 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants. (The Ada News)

21st CCLC programs provide expanded learning opportunities during out-of-school time for students who attend high-poverty, low-performing schools. Among the opportunities the program offers are literacy training and related educational development for families of students served by the community learning centers. To learn more about this grant opportunity and how to apply, visit the 21st CCLC page on the OSDE website,

Future OKCPS supt optimistic about possibilities 

Incoming Superintendent Sean McDaniel is predicting big things for Oklahoma City Public Schools. On Wednesday, after being recognized by his peers as the state's top superintendent for his work at Mustang Public Schools, McDaniel said his new employer has the pieces in place to be "crazy successful," reported The Oklahoman's Tim Willert

"The talent is everywhere, at all levels, and that is probably the most exciting thing to me right now after 10 days (as a consultant)," he told The Oklahoman.

"It's not just nice people. We have nice people, but they are really, really talented, nice people. I am close to being overwhelmed with the number of talented people that we have in our district."

Cops for Kids event next week

Moore Youth and Family Services will hold its big fundraising event, Cops for Kids, next week, reports the Norman Transcript.

Cops for Kids is in its fourth year and will include the Moore Police Department, Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and Oklahoma City Fire Department sending teams to compete for the top prize. 

“We’ve gotten more sponsorship," MYFS Director Lisa Williams said. "The amount we raised wasn’t as much last year, but this year, we’re getting more donations in terms of things to raffle.”

Cadet class gives students close look at law enforcement

High school seniors from across Oklahoma are getting an up close and personal behind-the-scenes look at how law enforcement operates in handling a variety situations from daily traffic stops to defusing bombs, reports the Muskogee Phoenix

The 45th annual class of Cadet Lawman includes 110 cadets, about 70 Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers and about 30 junior cadet staffers who are alumni of past sessions helping out this year, said Stewart Meyer, retired OHP captain who is helping out with the event.

"This is not a recruitment tool for law enforcement, although some who have gone through it have taken careers in the field," Meyer said. "Instead, the week is all about teaching them about life and respect for God and country."

Have a great weekend!

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 ›