BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, December 24, 2012
12/24/12 at 2:53 AM
Law enforcement, education, government and legislative officials across the land are trying to come to grips with the recent Newtown, Conn., school shootings, which claimed the lives of 20 children, most of them kindergartners and first-graders, and six adults. The common goal is to reduce the number and severity of such shootings.
In Oklahoma, state Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, announced formation of an Oklahoma Commission on School Security, to be headed by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.
The three leaders said the commission would be nonpartisan, "proactive not reactive" and open to all proposals related to school security.
"Everything will be on the table," Lamb said.
Membership hasn't been decided, but the three leaders said the commission will listen to input from "subject area experts," including educators, parents, school board members and first responders.
The idea sounds promising, although there are a couple of caveats.
We hope that any school security improvements eventually enacted by the Legislature that call for increased spending by local school districts - say for added security guards - will include funding for districts that have been hammered by funding cuts. No unfunded mandates, please.
We also hope that the commission is not just used as a vehicle to promote some kind of voucher program to siphon more taxpayer money away from public schools and into private and church-run schools, all in the name of safe schools. Allowing a few fortunate families to escape - at taxpayer expense - public schools that are deemed "unsafe" is not the answer.
We look forward to hearing what the commission discusses and what it proposes. School security is an issue that obviously is on everyone's minds right now.
An officer speaks with bystanders across the street from Celia Clinton Elementary School. The school was locked down for several hours Tuesday when several people said they heard gunshots near the school. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World