OKLAHOMA CITY- The fight to build safer schools officially kicked off on Wednesday with parents flocking to the capitol to show their support for the initiative.
Organizers of “Take Shelter Oklahoma” filed the paperwork and launched a petition drive to fund $500 million in storm shelters in every school using a statewide bond.
The group now has 90 days to collect more than a 150,000 signatures to get the issue on a state ballot.
The petition is very personal for parents who lost kids at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore last May.
The parents of Kyle Davis, Chistopher Legg and Nicholas McCabe still mourn the loss.
Stacey McCabe said, “There is no laughter. No fun. No kids coming over to play with my little boy.”
“We suffer everyday without Chris,” said Danni Legg. “I should be going to two football games every week. I only have one to attend now.”
Mikki Davis said, “The pain we’ve been through in four months, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
Those three parents came to the statehouse to lend their support for the petition drive.
McCabe said, “We want to make sure every parent has a child that comes home from school everyday.”
Kathy Turner, the chairwoman of the ‘Take Shelter Oklahoma’ petition drive, said, “It’s so important for kids to be safe in school.”
Turner filed the petition with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office and says the fight for safer schools should not be about politics.
She said, “We are not politicizing children. It’s about their safety, which is every Oklahoman’s responsibility.”
Kylie Carroll said, “I personally don’t feel safe.”
Carroll supports the petition drive because she attends school in Fletcher, which, like hundreds of others schools in the state, does not have a shelter.
She said, “If a storm was to come and wanted us, it could have us very easily.”
The Plaza Towers parents say they’re lobbying for kids like Kylie and every other school-aged kid in the state.
Davis said, “I’ve always assumed kids were safe in schools, but not any longer. Until there’s a shelter in every school, we are going to keep fighting until then.”
Organizers will be at the Oklahoma State Fair, at Friday night football games, and malls around the state to collect signatures and support.