Local funding for school security
OKLAHOMA (KFAQ) - State Rep. Joe Dorman has proposed allowing school districts to fund the hiring of a school security officer with the use of a local vote of additional revenue.
“Basically, we are giving communities the option to increase the safety of school districts, without the involvement of the state, should they decide they would like to have a resource officer in each building,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. “I am working on legislation to expand the use of money raised in local bond elections by creating a new classification in addition to the existing system. When I spoke to my local educators and school administrators, this option was the most popular way of increasing school safety.”
Current bonding laws do not allow for the use of funds to hire personnel.
“Schools are already struggling to make ends meet, so the last thing we want to do is to add one more mandate on to their list with existing budgets,” said Dorman. “I know new taxes are not popular, but this would allow the local control of each school district to decide if this is an expense that is worthwhile.”
Dorman said he does not feel there is enough support by teachers to have firearms in the schools carried by their peers, nor is there enough support by the parents to allow weapons in schools.
“There are numerous problems with a recent proposal to arm teachers,” said Dorman. “For one thing, federal law prohibits firearms in schools, unless carried by law enforcement. I do not think the idea is feasible or wise to deputize each and every school employee and expect them to go through continuous training to deal with extreme situations, especially when their primary duty is to educate young Oklahomans.”
Dorman plans to establish a public forum for educators sometime in early January to discuss the issue of school safety. Public and private school teachers, board members and administrators will be invited to this discussion, along with any legislators willing to attend.
“I have asked several school organizations to poll their membership on how they feel about this issue and possible solutions,” said Dorman. “I would like to present the opportunity to teachers to come to the Capitol, or another facility to accommodate the turnout, and discuss this issue before the next semester begins and prior to our 2013 legislative session.”
Lawmakers are currently in the process of drafting legislation, which must be filed by 4 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2013.