Oklahoma School Security Institute
Formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut, the Oklahoma Commission on School Security was established to evaluate school safety statewide and build a report to be presented to the Oklahoma Legislature with information and recommendations on how to enhance school security.
Led by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, this non-partisan commission consisted of 22 committee members with unique experience from diverse fields including criminal investigation, education, engineering, mental health, and public safety. These committee members completed an intense study of school security issues and provided the following recommendations to the Oklahoma Legislature on March 5, 2013:
- Formation of the Oklahoma School Security Institute,
- Establish a Mental Health First Aid Training Program,
- Amend state law to consolidate and require school safety drills,
- Require the reporting of firearms found on school property to local law enforcement, and
- Establish a school security tip line.
Oklahoma State Department of Education Office of School Safety and Security
The Oklahoma State Department of Education is the state education agency of the State of Oklahoma charged with determining the policies and directing the administration and supervision of the public school system of Oklahoma. The State Board of Education, the governing body of the Department, is composed of the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction and six members appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma with the approval of the Oklahoma Senate. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, in addition to serving as chair of the Board, serves as the chief executive officer of the Department and is elected by the voters of Oklahoma every four years.
The current State Superintendent of Public Instruction is Joy Hofmeister who was elected State Superintendent in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.
The State Board of Education, and thus the State Department of Education, was created in its current configuration in 1971 during the term of Governor David Hall. The agency maintains its headquarters in the Oliver Hodge Building at 2500 North Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City.
Together with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Department forms the core of Oklahoma’s public education system.
Oklahoma School Safety Legislation
In 2018, the Police Foundation staff conducted a comprehensive public domain scan of state legislation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the following aspects of school safety and security:
- facility security and assessment requirements;
- creation, and identification of roles and responsibilities for state school safety centers and school safety teams/committees;
- requirements for school administrators and faculty;
- allocation of funds for improving school safety and security; and
- all-hazards emergency planning and preparedness.
The Police Foundation also reviewed legislation and amendments passed by state legislatures and signed into law following the mass violence attacks at schools in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. Seven states—Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—officially codified new significant school safety and security laws that address at least one of the aspects mentioned above. The legislative review utilized open source research, and encompasses all legislation that was officially codified by September 11, 2018.