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Morning Bell: Another Oklahoma school allows teachers to carry guns

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Good Thursday morning! 

TODAY: The state Board of Education meets this morning and is expected to approve 412 new emergency teaching certificates. 

Oklahoma already broke last year’s record-setting number in the first three months of hiring for the 2018-19 academic year. An additional 412 would bring the total to more than 2,500, reports the Tulsa World

Minco allows some staff to carry firearm

Minco Public Schools recently enacted a policy to arm teachers, which was passed by the Minco Board of Education more than a year ago.

According to KTUL, teachers who wish to be armed must first be selected by district administration and approved by the board. Two teachers have completed the training. 

"No one likes to think about there being an incident involving guns in schools,” said Superintendent Kevin Sims. “But this last year there seemed like there was a pickup in the frequency of those shootings across the nation."

Minco appears to be joining just a handful of Oklahoma districts that allows staff to carry a firearm. In 2015, Oklahoma lawmakers approved a bill to allow staff to carry a gun inside a school, essentially requiring the individual to complete the same training as an armed security guard or reserve peace officer.

“I don't like the fact that we have people who have to carry a gun, I really don't,” said Tony Dean, superintendent of Okemah, which also allows some staff to carry a gun. “But you know what, if you are even thinking about doing something at Okemah schools, you know that some people are carrying weapons and you are not going to know who they are. You are not going to be in charge.”

County commissioner battles county sheriffs over school officers

In the last two months, the Oklahoma County sheriff department has submitted proposals for a new school resource officer for Choctaw-Nicoma Park and to renew the officer for Christ the King School in Oklahoma City. Both times, Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan voted against the proposals, reports KFOR

Maugan said limited funds and officers are a huge concern.

"Not that we wouldn't want to do it, and I'm 100 percent in favor of school protection. I'm worried about the DOJ coming in and taking over our jail because we don't allocate every possible resource to the problem," he said.

Maughan said, even though each school pays for its own resource officer, the deputy is still technically employed by the county. The county is still financially responsible for the deputy when it comes to other costs like gear, benefits and liability.

Superintendent discusses student trauma in Stillwater

Student trauma along with teacher shortage and retention were some of the many topics State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister addressed while speaking in Stillwater on Tuesday during the Women’s Professional Council monthly luncheon, reports the Stillwater News Press

“We ... have the highest percent of students that have experienced trauma of any other state in the country,” Hofmeister said.

She said teachers need to be trained on how to work with students with adverse childhood experiences and that student trauma shouldn’t come as a surprise since Oklahoma has so many incarcerated men and women.

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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 ›