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Oklahoma law already allows School Resource Officers to carry firearms in public schools in the Sooner State, but a new law will now allow some teachers to carry as well. Reuters reports that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill this week that would allow school districts to authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school staff. Oklahoma House Bill 2014 allows school boards to authorize specific staff members who have an armed security guard license or hold a valid reserve peace officer certification . . .

State Representative Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, was quoted as saying that “a school district’s board of education can designate a school employee to attend an armed security guard training program or reserve peace officer program and pay for the training.”

Some people in the Tulsa school system are experiencing torqued undies over the new law. And the vice president of the Tulsa teachers union was one of them.

As Yahoo! Parenting reports:

Shawna Mott-Wright, Vice President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, thinks the new law is a “horrible idea,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s not necessary. We already have our own police force, full of trained people. This is what they do. Just like I’m the professional in the classroom, they are the professionals in their field. They cannot teach like I can, and I cannot carry a weapon like they can.”

As mom to an 8 and a 9-year-old, Mott-Wright says the law causes her concern for the safety of her children. “The training required for teachers to meet the requirements of this law and carry handguns is not extensive enough,” she says.

Ms. Mott-Wright’s criticism is unfounded. She opposes the law in part because her employer, the Tulsa Public School System, has its own police department. It’s not clear how many public school systems in Oklahoma have the resources to establish their own departments, but I suspect that Tulsa is in the extreme minority there.

While it’s wise for persons who carry a firearm while working a full five-day week in a public school to have training on subjects concerning weapons retention and de-escalation at a minimum, that’s a far cry from saying that a person who works in a rural school without the resources to establish its own police force — let alone post resource officers — should be denied the ability to make use of the personnel that it does have.

UPDATE: While writing this article, I had sent an e-mail to Shawna Mott-Wright asking whether or not she thought the Oklahoma law might be more appropriate for rural districts that could not set up their own police forces. I had also asked her to clarify why she was more comfortable with police officers carrying firearms around students versus reserve police officers / certified armed security guards. Ms. Mott-Wright responded after the article had already been submitted. Her answers are below.

1. I cannot speak for rural areas, just as I would hope they wouldn’t try to speak for me.

2. Full-time law enforcement officers receive more training than is required by this legislation. Furthermore, I have greater confidence in the skills and ability of a person whose job – all day every day- entails working in a law enforcement capacity. If a school needs a law enforcement presence, a full-time law enforcement officer is the appropriate person to fill that role.

If we are concerned about improving the safety of our students, our resources would be well spent investing in mental health services for our students who need them, and hiring enough counselors to provide our students with the individual attention they need in times of trouble. Beyond that, if our lawmakers believe we need law enforcement officers in our schools, they should provide the funding to hire them, rather than expecting educators to take on that responsibility.

 

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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39 Responses to Some Oklahoma School Staff Can Now Carry Firearms at Work

  1. School districts may authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school staff. I’m not expecting that many school districts will do so. Because how could hoplophobic, incompetent teachers fill the little kids’ heads full of antigun crap while carrying?

  2. They MAY allow the extremely few teachers who are qualified to carry. Which is to say, there won’t be any teachers carrying.

    • Maybe not in the Tulsa area, but here in southern Oklahoma the school board and teachers are already discussing training requirements and expense reimbursement. If I had to guess, I will say our little high school will end up with 6-8 out of 30 something teachers carrying concealed. That’s a far cry up from the SRO we have now who the school can only afford to have work 3-days a week. Also he’s sixty.

      • I can’t speak for OK but here in CA getting a gaurd card and gun card for security work is not expensive or difficult. Before I retired from the school district I would have gladly paid from my own pocket for the license if I could have carried in school.

        And you say sixty like it’s a bad thing. I think of sixty as being seasoned.

        • 60 isn’t ancient, but it’s a far cry for a 60 year old to move like a 30 year old.

        • Very true, Stan. The 30yo moves like he’s invincible, charging about until he gets tagged hard and heavy. The 60 yo does the tagging.

          Two bulls, one young and one old stood on a hill overlooking a herd of cows. The young bull tells the old bull,”Let’s charge down the hill and phuck one of those cows.”

          The old bull answers,”Let’s walk down the hill and phuck all those cows.”

      • This sixty something will go to the range with ANY of you 20somethings and shoot for range fees ANY DAY ! ! !

  3. Shawna, like many people, undoubtedly thinks of schools as sacred places because they are gun-free. That’s a naive conceit that, as we keep seeing over and over again, will keep getting people killed. The uniform, badge, and gun doesn’t necessarily mean that her school’s cops are well trained or that there are enough of them available to effectively stop a spree-killer intent on doing maximum damage. Unless, as in Garland, they’re on the scene at the time of the attack, campus police won’t be around to stop a determined spree-killer—but an armed, trained teacher, principal, or coach, might do just that. More than a few vets have entered the teaching profession in Tulsa and other towns. Thank a former force-recon Marine would be afraid to confront a spree-killer stupid enough to try to kill kids at his school?

  4. Tulsa public schools does in fact, have their own police force…

    23 state certified sworn officers, 20 state licensed armed security guards and 14 non-sworn
    employees. It is a certified law enforcement agency with full police powers under the statutes of the State of Oklahoma.

    The sworn, and non-sworn, appear to be a bit thick, so I dont know how fast they move…

    http://www.tulsaschools.org/1_Administration/03_STAFF_MEMBERS/_DEPARTMENTS/police_department/INDEX.asp

    http://www.tulsaschools.org/1_Administration/03_STAFF_MEMBERS/_DEPARTMENTS/police_department/_documents/pdf/TPSCPD_5year_report.pdf

    • The Tulsa School District has 86 schools and 43 officers, so they can only cover half of the schools at a time. I’d rather see 10% of the teachers in each school carrying concealed.

  5. On the “torqued” undies, tell these people that when they are shot at by terrorist, or would be assassins, The torquing action can help squeeze the pee out of their panties, when their bladder lets go!

  6. Yahoo Parenting is stone, brain-dead, knee-jerk PC crap. I read the article three or four days ago, even left a comment about how their objective reporters somehow couldn’t find a single authority figure in favor of the legislation to get a quote from. Probably the last time I’ll ever waste any of my time reading anything from Yahoo Parenting. As for the law itself–for cryin’ out loud, requiring a peace officer’s or security guard’s certification? What’s the point of getting upset over something that restricted? Other than just being hopelessly paranoid about, you know, guns…

  7. In my neighborhood, the principal of the public high school, not only encourages his staff and teachers to carry at school, but negotiated with a concealed carry training center (which provides the state mandated safety training) for a large reduction (about 60%) in the cost of training and then emphasized he would pay this remaining small amount for any staff or teachers for which paying this amount was a hardship to them. Since that time about half of the staff and teachers carry regularly at school.

    • You must live in a very wise neighborhood. I am a second career teacher and was a Student of the Gun long before I was a student of education. My state legislature authorized school districts to allow teacher and staff carry when they passed concealed carry 10 years ago. The school districts and the teachers just won’t do it. They are more scared of guns than the evil that sooner or later is coming. Anybody read Terror at Beslan or Day of Wrath? Last year the legislature passed an additional law creating a very high end CQB training certification program for school staff. With two ways to carry there are still only one or two takers. Educators are AFRAID of reality. I had an extensive discussion with a 28 year old physically fit 225 pound high school football coach. He was scared to death students would jump him and take a concealed firearm from him. He teaches at a “nice’ school in a college town. To prove a point I wore my concealed holster with a day glow orange cap gun to my Masters program classes for a month. Nobody every knew.

      Small amount of good news. One of my adjunct professors, a late 40’s, petite, retired middle school math teacher, responded very positively and expressed interest in concealed carry training. My son’s girlfriend is majoring in Elementary Ed. She is 5’4′ and really good with a 1911.45 double stack. She is getting her CCW next month. Still, her grandmother cannot understand this because “she is going to be a teacher.”

      • I am not sure how wise we all are, but perhaps “necessity is the mother of invention” would be more apropos. Street gangs live and maraud in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. For several years, expelled shells and bullets were found on the locked school campus with sides of building riddled with bullet holes. The principal transferred to the school is a strong African-American educator who puts up with no bull. He did what he could to change the culture around the school with some limited success, but not enough. His next step was this one. It is an inner-city school. All teachers there must volunteer to be there after they are told the children they will be teaching are from gangs, children of gang members, etc.

        My wife has always chosen to teach at-risk children in the worst school where ever we have lived. This location is no different. My beautiful red head bride of many decades is the only lighter skinned teacher in the whole school. She had to take one day off earlier this year because I went into the hospital for an operation and the school principal and one assistant principal telephoned and then came to the hospital to see if I was alright and she could return to school the following day! He said, they don’t want to have school without her being there! HA. I told the principal, I did not want to return home without here being there either! so we compromised, he gets her during the day and I get her after 3 pm (that is no different than the deal I have had for the past many years…ha!)

        • I define wisdom as the ability to combine knowledge and experience and apply it to real life. That is what it sounds like is going on there. Thank your wife for me. She has long known what I recently learned. The smart kids don’t need help. They can get it on heir own. The greatest joy is helping those students that really need help.

  8. She doesn’t feel like there’s enough training but I bet she doesn’t complain when some paraprofessional or teacher’s aide takes over her class and they don’t have the “professional” schooling she does. She wants her kids kept safe you can bet on that but is sure that teachers with guns cannot accomplish that. However, police that are minutes away when seconds count gives her piece of mind. Nothing spells out uncertainty like a hyphenated name. Ms Shawna Mott-Wright has a hyphenated name, need I read any further?

  9. It seems to me that “investing” is leftspeak for “more government spending on union jobs”.

  10. Actually, Ms. Mott-Wright, I’m guessing there are many professionals who have had significant weapons experience, that could teach circles around you and many of your peers. In fact, some of the best teachers I had growing up, got their Associate Degree from from the University of South Vietnam, then used the GI Bill to become teachers…just sayin…

  11. Don’t think the intent I the legislation is to address a “need for more law enforcement presence” in schools, but rather a much closer line of defense that could intervene in the event of deranged or jihadi wannabe shooter much sooner than the cops could, thus saving lives.

  12. I recommend the abolishing of all public schools. It may sound impossible but we need to consider what is best for our children and our culture not to mention our pocketbooks. Public schools do more harm than good. They indoctrinate our children to believing things that we would never teach at home while leaving them defenseless. And it becomes impossible to debrief them from the influence of that indoctrination. And even if the state protected them without breaking the bank it would just continue the nanny state. Who other than the parents of the child would want them to succeed more? There may be teachers who are more concerned with a child’s welfare than the parent(s) but that is a small percentage. And even if they are more concerned the public school system doesn’t allow them to do enough to help the children under their care. Home school or private school is a much better solution. Why is the govt. even in the education process? Here’s a clue: “The Matrix has you Neo.” The Russians started govt. education to make people into good little worker bees who would do the bidding of the state. I’ll let you research the rest for yourself. Then students would be protected by their parents at home. There could be no mass school shootings without schools filled with targets. It can be done and is done even by parents who are low income earners. It doesn’t take money. How many times have we heard of Abraham Lincoln teaching himself? It is possible. Thank you for your indulgence.

  13. Its amusing to me how so many people are worried about allowing a teacher to carry a gun to school because they might snap and kill a kid; yet, how many are worried about allowing these very same people to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation. If they cant be trusted to protect them physically, why do we trust them with there minds. Home-school while there is still time.

  14. “1. I cannot speak for rural areas, just as I would hope they wouldn’t try to speak for me.”
    Translation; How dare you ask me a question that undermines my argument

    “2. Full-time law enforcement officers receive more training than is required by this legislation.”
    And yet civilians who lawfully possess handguns are shown to be better shots than LEOs

  15. Still haven’t been able to figure out what makes schools (and airports and hospitals and a bunch of other places too) so special that the presence of a firearm is a problem?

    And it seems that every time I ask one of the anti-gunner types what makes schools so special that firearms would somehow break whatever magic makes the place so special they simply clutch their pearls and gasp, some of them even make that little tsk tsk noise at me.

  16. Utah has had concealed carry in k-12 schools since 1996 with out special training. Teaching certificate plus Concealed carry certificate equals guns at at school. Last school shooting in Utah…wait for it… 1995!

    I have struggled to figure this out as I am a Student of the Gun and a teacher (second career). Teachers and administrators seem to have a mental problem with the realities of self defense.

  17. I agree with a qualified and trained teacher carrying, but it needs to be on-body and not left in a backpack somewhere.

    • Deep concealment body is the only way to go. Glock in the box stands a good chance of being too late. Of body does not provide sufficient security.

      • Not only that, but once when I was working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) while attending Grad School, the prof I was working with told me to get something out of his backpack during class. I zipped open a pocket and there was a loaded Smith & Wesson semi auto.

        I just zipped the zipper back ( I was also carrying in a pocket holster) and found what he wanted, but we really don’t need something like that happening with a high school kid.

        • “…but we really don’t need something like that happening with a high school kid.”

          Why?

          If the kid has been taught the four rules what’s the problem? At a minimum if the kid has been taught Eddie the Eagle rules what is the problem?

          I’m not saying I WANT it to happen, I am just challenging your assumption that a high school kid is going to have any kind of issue with the scenario you relayed.

        • And in today’s Liberal, PC urban world, are you going to gamble that every kid has been taught? Besides that, why leave a gun in a situation where someone . . . anyone could get a hold of it?

          On-body carry in a school. That would be my standard, you handle it however you want.

        • “..are you going to gamble that every kid has been taught? ”

          Yes. I am.

          If the school district is forward thinking enough to allow teachers to be armed (as it should be) then I am willing to gamble that the students have been taught just enough or more to not grab the gun and go shooting people all willy-nilly.

          I agree it should be on-body carry. In a desk or bag or anything else IS a potential for bad. And there is probably one or more students that really shouldn’t be anywhere near a firearm and I am going to bet the teacher is not going to be asking any of ‘those’ students to reach into anything that would be anywhere near a firearm. I am only challenging your blanket assertion that if a student where in the situation described there would be a problem. You yourself didn’t have a problem so why do you assume anyone else would?

          We either trust them as young adults to have more than a fleeting grasp of right and wrong or we don’t. And if we don’t then there is a really different problem that needs to be addressed regarding the school system and modern education.

  18. I am all for on body conceal carry on school grounds. Teachers have already questioned my daughter why does your father carry ? When teacher asked class what parents have firearms. I cant wait till next years parent teacher conference in sept. This fri softball dinner at a private restaurant. I will wait for her in the restaurant OC just like I always do.

  19. I am all for on body conceal carry on school grounds. Teachers have already questioned my daughter way does your father carry ? When teacher asked class what parents have firearms. I cant wait till next years parent teacher conference in sept.

  20. I am all for on body conceal carry on school grounds. Teachers have already questioned my daughter why does your father carry ? When teacher asked class what parents have firearms. I cant wait till next years parent teacher conference in sept.

  21. I am all for on body conceal carry on school grounds. Teachers have already questioned my daughter why does your father carry ? When the teacher asked class what parents have firearms? I cant wait till next years parent teacher conference in sept.

  22. Shawna Mott-Wright, Vice President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, thinks the new law is a “horrible idea,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s not necessary. We already have our own police force, full of trained people. This is what they do. Just like I’m the professional in the classroom, they are the professionals in their field. They cannot teach like I can, and I cannot carry a weapon like they can.”

    it always amazes when in 2015 with the history we have of armed shooters coming onto school campuses that anyone with a working brain would have this kind of liberal horseshit objection. No one expect you dear to carry a weapon like they can not to do anything but be a last resort to stop a maniac killing your beloved students. if you cannot wrap your mind and worldview around that then perhaps your not really suited to a life teaching and PROTECTING our children

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