Some Teachers Already Go To School Armed In Okemah
OKEMAH, Oklahoma - At a time when schools across the country are debating allowing trained teachers to carry guns in the classroom, one Green Country school has been doing it for years.
Okemah Public Schools is one of two districts in the State of Oklahoma that allow some of their staff members to carry guns at school.
Warning signs posted at school entrances state "some employees are armed."
"It gives the kids a better chance than those guns not being there," said Okemah Police Chief Ed Smith, Jr. "Somebody to intervene, somebody on site to save those kids."
Money is tight and right now the district only has one school resource officer to patrol all three schools.
"We are doing the best we can with the resources that we have," said Smith.
Since the fall of 2015, certain staff members working at Okemah Public Schools have been specially trained and carry guns on school property.
James Copeland, an Okemah School Board member, says the policy is a no-brainer.
I don't know that you can ever be 100% ready," said Copeland. "We have taken the steps that we saw and felt like were the best for our school system and our kids."
Copeland says not one parent has ever complained.
"They are allowed to carry the gun that they are comfortable with carrying, but that weapon also is something that they conceal, that is never seen by the students, the public, or any other teachers." explained Smith.
Smith says that the armed teachers are specifically chosen by the Superintendent and the principals.
They also go through armed security guard training, Smith says, and have to be able to hit a target at least 80% of the time.
"The number of hours training they get, I think, teaches them that this is for real and it's a huge responsibility," said Smith. "My hat's off to them for being willing to participate in the program."