By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Mustang Public Schools are taking a hard look at whether or not it should have some armed school staff.
Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel announced at Monday’s board of education meeting that he was expanding a committee on school safety to include two board members.
The committee has the goal of reporting back to the board by sometime in June, said Deputy Superintendent Charles Bradley.
Board President Brad Fulton said the district should consider working with staff members who are interested and qualified in being armed, as is allowed by Oklahoma state law.
“I think it’s time to consider doing something,” he said. “We cannot do nothing.”
Fulton pointed to the success of arming school personnel in Argyle, Texas. “Who better to protect our kids than teachers?” he asked.
Board member Jeff Landrith said that if staff was to be armed, it should be people with prior experience with firearms, such as military veterans. Specialized training should be provided, he said.
“It should be because Joe Blow off the street wants to do it,” he said.
Board member Dr. Jim Davis said he would for the district to be protected regarding repercussions from problems that arose because of a shooting by a staff member.
At the January board meeting, the district’s efforts received high marks from Jennifer Newell, a former Norman police officer who is helping schools become safer on behalf of the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security.
“No district has been more cooperative than you have,” Newell said.
Mustang is a role model for other districts. “That doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but what sets you apart is that you’re willing to make changes,” she said.
Her office recommends against arming teachers, but schools that are 45 minutes away from law enforcement sometimes do it, she said.
“Think of all the ramifications. I asked a district what was its policy on the use of deadly force, and they said they had never thought about that,” she said.
“The very last thing you want to do is make a mistake in a shooting.”
Bradley also discussed the district’s ongoing efforts to make schools safer.
They include consideration of putting a bullet-proof film on windows and developing a plan for reunifying students with parents after a school evacuation.
“We have to consider what’s the plan after the event,” he said.
Bradley said the committee would work hard. “It will be an exhaustive process,” he said.