School Leaders Turn To State Agency After Florida Mass Shooting
OKLAHOMA CITY - For many school leaders, the idea of a mass shooting like the one on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, is still fresh in their minds and it's turning focus to a little known but important state agency.
The Oklahoma School Security Institute is in charge of making sure schools are doing intruder and other emergency drills at least four times a year, and since those 17 were killed in Florida, schools across the state are reaching out for help.
The OSSI only employs about three people but covers the entire state's school systems. Their job is to make sure schools are secure and prepared in case the unthinkable happens.
That means assessing risk and working with schools, staff and students.
When it comes to the controversial decision to arm teachers, OSSI doesn't have an official position but they do work with schools to make sure armed staff truly knows what it would take to open fire in their own classrooms.
"In the majority of the cases, the person who commits the act of violence is a student. You're going to know that student in many of these cases and so it's having the proper mindset around that," said Jennifer Newell of OSSI.
Oklahoma school boards are allowed to approve certain trained staff to carry weapons inside schools. That law was passed in 2015.