Roundup of Oklahoma editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 12, 2013 at 8:01 am •  Published: March 12, 2013
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Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

Tulsa World, March 7, 2013

School-safety plan less than expected

The Oklahoma Commission on School Safety has released its recommendations, including a new security tip line, mental health training for school staff, and a new state institute that would undertake training, research and other duties.

While the panel's efforts are certainly appreciated, the fact the recommendations are far less extensive than proposals discussed during its deliberations is glaring. The estimated yearly price tag for the five recommendations - only about $1 million in new spending - lends credence to the suspicion that the panel must have scaled back its final plan in the wake of the likelihood a more comprehensive plan wouldn't fly. It's too bad the recommendations were watered down, if, indeed, that happened.

After the December killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Oklahomans were prepared, even eager, to improve school safety.

And the panel early on seemed to feel the same. Among promising strategies discussed were armed guards in schools; changes in legislation that would make it easier to detain persons deemed possibly dangerous, and a new system of professional teams that would seek to find possibly dangerous people and address their needs.

Instead of these more effective strategies, the commission called for: a mental health "first aid" training pilot program; new state laws consolidating and requiring safety drills; a local firearms reporting requirement; a statewide school security tip line, and the new institute.

The institute would require about $500,000 initially, and the mental health training would cost about $245,000, according to Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, chairman of the commission.

Lamb predicted that the program would be well-received by legislators, and he's probably right about that, since the price tag is so negligible.

Lamb also said the recommendations would lead to the creation of an "Oklahoma standard" for dealing with the challenges of school security. He's right about that, too. But will it prove to be an effective standard, a model other states will want to emulate? Doubtful.

Acknowledging the state's fiscal limitations, Lamb admitted there was "more that we wish we could do."

Of course, more could have been done if lawmakers didn't automatically turn a deaf ear to new spending proposals. But as long as our leaders want to do everything on the cheap, we're going to get what we pay for.

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The Oklahoman, March 11, 2013

David Prater should rethink prosecution plans

David Prater has demonstrated bold, courageous leadership as Oklahoma County district attorney. Time after time, Prater has refused to take the easy way or the politically expedient way.

But in refusing to back down from his intention to prosecute members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board for alleged Open Meetings Act violations, Prater seems unwilling to take all the considerations into account. Prosecution benefits no one in this case — not the board, not the state, not Prater.

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