Advocates Want Law Requiring School Storm Shelters

Saturday, May 20th 2017, 8:11 pm
By: Grant Hermes

It's one of the most painful anniversaries for Oklahoma. Four years ago, an EF-5 tornado tore through the city of Moore and right through Plaza Towers Elementary, taking the lives of seven children. 

The grief still lingers and that's why the CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Joe Dorman, is pushing for a new addition to Oklahoma education; storm shelters in every school.

“I want to see something that we can put in place that will be affordable and allow each school building to have some type of shelter space that will accommodate the needs of the people in that building,” Dorman said.

Right now, national building codes say schools must have shelters for student protection, but Oklahoma hasn't adopted those standards. Dorman said fears of high costs on school districts already struggling to raise funds.

“This is just like an insurance policy. We mandate you have insurance on your home. We mandate you have insurance on your car,” said Dorman. “I believe we should have that insurance at the school to provide the safety and security for the kids.”

But getting lawmakers to sign on could be difficult. The state's budget is still up in the air and the idea of spending money on a new mandate may be unpopular. Dorman thinks the cost shouldn't matter.

“We can't afford to look at the cost of what would impact with a life lost. We need to find ways to put this in place and we need to come up with those answers,” Dorman said.