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Local News

March 7, 2013

Superintendents discuss House bill that could allow teachers to carry handguns

DUNCAN —  

Student safety is one of the main objectives for superintendents throughout Stephens County.
And a legislative bill regarding an increase in school safety by permitting authorized school personnel to carry handguns on school property is among the bills progressing through the Oklahoma House of Representatives. House Bill 1062 was most recently approved by the Public Safety Committee Feb. 28.
According to the Oklahoma Legislation website, HB 1062 will allow teachers and administrators who have completed a basic police course academy for reserve deputies would be allowed, if authorized by the board of education, to carry a handgun into the school. The school board would be responsible for training, and the training would occur during the summer.
The bill was first read Feb. 4, and 10 days later, the bill was pulled from the calendar and returned to the Public Safety Committee. The committee, which had approved an amended version of the bill by a vote of 8 to 3 on Feb. 6, re-approved HB 1062 with a vote of 13 to 1.
“I have real mixed emotions about it,” Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer said. “While I know teachers and administrators are going to protect the kids, I worry about distractions. They’re there to teach.”
Sen. Don Barrington told members of the Leadership Duncan Class XVII on Tuesday during their visit to the state Capitol, that in the rural community schools like in Stephens County, there may not be as much a need for teachers to carry handguns in the classroom, but he understands the concerns many have for the topic.
The Duncan School District does have a contract with the Duncan Police Department, which provides a resource officer for the school district. The officer, Michael Breeze, has an office at the Duncan High School.
“I think it would be better if we had trained police officers,” Labyer said. 
Marlow Superintendent George Coffman said he does have questions about the bill, but can see both sides of the issue. Coffman is a gun owner, who has grown up around guns.

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