Metro Parent & Former Parkland, Florida Teacher Advocates For School Safety

Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 8:58 pm

EDMOND, Oklahoma -

In the wake of the tragedy in Texas, some Oklahoma parents want to bring more discussions about safety to the table. 

A metro parent who lived through one mass shooting and hopes to never have to face another. 

Kassie Hameister is from Parkland, Florida and was an educator during the Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. 

Now, she lives in Edmond and has a mission to make schools safer. 

“I see these babies, I see these faces, and I know what they are going through. I know that hometown feeling because I went through it. It is the scariest thing,” said Hameister. 

She said she knows firsthand the horrors of experiencing a mass shooting in your hometown. 

“I worked at an elementary school 5 minutes away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas. I lived 5 minutes away, my parents live in the community. We were all affected by the tragedy,” said the former educator and parent.  

Now she is in Oklahoma and has taken an active role on her local school board and PTO. 

“I have two children that attend EPS and they do a great job, but we can always do better,” she said. 

Hamester is using her lived experience and advocating for school safety. 

“It isn’t a matter of ‘if’ it is a matter of ‘when. Where is the next place going to be and are we ready?” she said. 

She has shared her experience and suggestions with Edmond Public Schools at their latest districtwide safety meeting. 

“These tragedies, the biggest thing we have learned as a country, as districts, as schools; is the easiest barrier is to lock your classroom door,” said Hameister. 

As the school year comes to a close, she says the work continues. 

“I really hope that in Edmond, Oklahoma City, in all the surrounding metro areas that this can be the topic of conversation now that we are in summer,” she said. 

Schools across the state say they are always working to ensure the safety of students and staff. 

“As a school community that works each day with the children and youth of Edmond, we have the greatest empathy for what Uvalde educators and parents are experiencing. We are profoundly heartbroken that the lives of innocent school children and the adults who serve them were cut short by this heinous act of violence,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp, the Edmond Public Schools Director of Communication. 

Dustin Horstkoetter, the Safety Director at Moore Public Schools said “we are committed to and focused on the safety and security of our students and employees. We have internal processes and protocols that we follow and that we continually review for improvements. These standards are only shared with our local emergency management teams, site officers and administrators.” 

“OKCPS has many security protocols in place, including having a School Resource Officer (SRO) or Campus Security Guard at each middle and high school, as well as a team of roving officers. Our facilities have badged entry points and high-definition security cameras. Beyond that, we cannot discuss details of our safety and security plans with the public. The safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority and OKCPS’ security team works closely with our local law enforcement partners to maintain a safe and secure environment for our students and staff members,” said Crystal Raymond the Media Relations Manager for Oklahoma City Public Schools.