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Bill to arm teachers, administrators wins Oklahoma House panel's approval

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: February 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm •  Published: February 28, 2013

An Oklahoma legislative committee agreed Wednesday to tweak a bill that would allow public school teachers or administrators who successfully complete a special school resource officer course to bring loaded handguns to school.

House Bill 1062 now would reduce the amount of training school officials are required to receive and would require local school boards to pay for the cost, said Rep. Mark McCullough, the measure's author.

McCullough, R-Sapulpa, said he is working to get $500,000 in state funds set aside to reimburse school boards. He estimates about 250 school teachers and administrators would volunteer to apply for the training in the first year the measure is in effect.

Earlier this month, the measure passed the House of Representatives Public Safety Committee 8-3, but McCullough pulled the bill back after talking further with school and law enforcement officials. Local school boards would decide whether to let teachers and administrators apply for the course. If boards approve, the training would be voluntary for teachers and administrators.

As revised, HB 1062 would require three weeks instead of six weeks of training to complete a special reserve school resource officer course. McCullough said the course is estimated to cost about $2,500 for each teacher or administrator. He said it's possible some law enforcement agencies wouldn't charge a fee or that a private individual or group would pay the cost of the training.

HB 1062 is the first Oklahoma school security measure advanced by lawmakers since the Sandy Hook massacre in December. Twenty children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults were shot and killed by a disturbed man, Adam Lanza, in Newtown, Conn.

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