Okla. department finds holes in school security

OKLAHOMA CITY—After the devastating school shooting in Connecticut, a lot of people are focusing on school safety.

Many school districts in the state are turning their attention to their own emergency plans.

Kim Carter, Okla. Office of Homeland Security director, said, “They’ve seen what happened in Connecticut. They’ve seen what happened in Columbine. They’ve seen what happened in theaters; there is a heightened sense of awareness now.”

Those schools are now able to receive free help from the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security.

The department offers a seminar to school districts that allows them to identify weaknesses in their security.

Officials say many are simple fixes that can be implemented immediately.

He said, “There are a lot of things they can do that are no cost or low-cost, that doesn’t take a lot of money. It can be something as simple as locking certain doors.”

Carter says over 150 school districts across the state have attended the seminar in the past three years and that number is expected to grow.

He says even those schools who attended seminars in the past should re-evaluate their emergency plans and security every six months.

Carter said, “There is never a one size fits all security plan. Every building is different, every school district is different.”

The agency also has an active shooter course it offers to lawman here in Oklahoma.

Just last week, the lieutenant governor and top Oklahoma lawmakers formed a commission to take on the issue of school safety.

Homeland security officials believe the move will help generate new ideas that could be implemented into their training.