OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill that would have allowed public school districts across Oklahoma to decide whether to let teachers be armed in classrooms won't be granted a hearing in the Senate and likely is dormant this session, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee said Monday.
Sen. John Ford did not grant the bill a hearing in his committee Monday and said he doesn't expect it will be reassigned to another committee before a Thursday deadline. Ford, R-Bartlesville, said he deferred instead to the recommendations of a special 22-member school safety task force formed in the wake of last year's deadly school shooting in Newton, Conn.
“My approach on school safety and security was to look at what this task force recommended, and it made no recommendations on firearms in schools,” Ford told The Associated Press. “Therefore, I think we really need to focus on what the experts said to make our schools safe.”
The school safety task force recommended the creation of a school security institute and mental health training for school staffs, along with mandating school intruder drills at public schools, the establishment of a school security tip line to report suspicious activity and a requirement that any firearm discovered on school grounds be reported to law enforcement.
The bill to allow armed teachers in schools, which was opposed by many school officials because of safety and liability concerns, was well-supported in the House. It easily cleared the Public Safety Committee and breezed through the full House on a 68-23 vote.