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June 25, 2014

School board approves purchase of tornado helmets

MARLOW — The Duncan Board of Education on Tuesday approved the purchase of 4,500 skate board helmets to protect students and employees in case of a tornado. The $34,650 purchase was made from Seismic Skate System with funds raised by the campaign. Each of the helmets cost $7.

The Cover Our Kids campaign raise funds to purchase the helmets. The campaign was a response to the May 2013 tornado in Moore, which killed seven students.

The Cover Our Kids campaign has a fund raising goal of $50,000, which is half of the original goal.

Patti Wininger, who is heading the campaign, and Jill Bethany, who is employed by Seismic Skate System, attended the meeting to talk about the ongoing campaign. Wininger said the community has been generous  to the campaign, which will continue to raise money to purchase blankets.

She said the helmets are a start to reducing the possibilities for head injuries.

“There’s nothing 100 percent guaranteed,” Wininger said. “But this is better than doing nothing.”

Other school districts in Oklahoma have similar campaigns. Moore has already purchased helmets and Chickasha is starting its campaign.

Superintendent Sherry Labyer said the purchase of the helmets will allow them to be used during the upcoming school year. All the helmets will be red, and three sizes will be divided among age groups.

Small helmets will be available for students in elementary school. Middle school students will use medium helmets. And large helmets are intended for high school students and all employees. Bethany said if a student gets the wrong size of helmet, it will still work properly.

Labyer said she’s excited about the work the Cover Our Kids volunteers have done and is impressed by the giving nature of the community. She said the helmets are just the first step, and she knows the money for the blankets will be raised eventually.

“We believe the helmets are more important than blankets when it comes to preventing brain injuries,” Labyer said.

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