Program Proposes Putting Volunteer Armed Guards In Oklahoma Schools

Tuesday, February 19th 2013, 11:17 pm
By: Tess Maune

A new program is in the works to put armed guards in front of every school in the state.

It's called the Homegrown Heroes Program. An Oklahoma bodyguard came up with the idea in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. He said his plan is a cost-effective way to make schools safer.

The small Caney Valley school district is constantly looking for new ways to protect its students.

"Safety has to be, has to be, the number one, paramount, issue, and not just talk the talk, but walk the talk for our kids," said Caney Valley Superintendent Rick Peters.

School security has always been a top priority there, but it became even more important in December, when two junior high students made dangerous threats against their classmates.

After the threat, the district hired a full-time security officer, but not all schools can afford the same.

12/17/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Police, Tulsa Public Schools To Step Up School Security

Executive Protection Services owner Walt Brazington said his Homegrown Heroes Program is one solution.

"We're not trying to put armed guards in the school, or walking the perimeter around it. We want somebody at the front door, to make sure nobody gets through the doors," Brazington said.

Under the plan, all 1,564 public schools in Oklahoma would be provided with two armed, CLEET-certified security officers. They would be volunteers working for free, but only after passing a series of background checks.

"These are Oklahoma residents, stepping up to make a statement that says, ‘Nobody with a gun gets in our school, that shouldn't have one,'" Brazington said.

Brazington estimates the $17 million for training and administration would be far less than the $100 million for all schools to hire full-time security.

"It's an intriguing concept. I'm saying at this point, it's a possibility. We're open to ideas, we're open to helping security," Peters said.

The superintendent said he would want to have some say over who's guarding his school before signing on.

And Brazington said the program can be adjusted to fit each school district.