School Security Commission Meets

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

The first meeting of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security took place Jan. 22, 2013. This commission was formed to establish the language for legislation to increase school security in Oklahoma. It is led by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and includes educators, parents and other parties to ensure we get input from all interested parties.

I was especially intrigued by the presentation Homeland Security Director Kim Carter prepared. She discussed many things that schools needed to do for greater safety. Some are as simple as establishing a policy of locked outside doors and having a single entrance where visitors sign in.

Mental Health Commissioner Terri White also weighed in at the meeting and noted that she would like to see a program implemented that would coordinate mental health and education efforts to help catch and treat mental illness in students.

We have also been holding agency budget hearings, in which we question agency officials about their performance and funding requests. I was not surprised to hear the Department of Human Services ask for an increase in funding. They are arguing that they need more funding to implement the components of a settlement agreement with an advocacy group that was suing them for failing to protect children. I believe that there is money that could be redirected from other areas of their budget.

My wife, Nellie, and I greatly enjoyed attending the annual Woodward Chamber of Commerce dinner held this month. I appreciate the strength and leadership on display in the communities of Western Oklahoma. Together, we can accomplish any goal.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol office at (405) 557-7407.

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