After Florida shooting, Oklahoma school district says armed staff keeps schools safe
OKAY, Okla. (KTUL) - The mass shooting in Florida will likely have school districts looking at ways to update their safety plans, but one Oklahoma school might set a new trend when it comes to gun policies.
Okay Public Schools in Wagoner County allows dozens of their staff members to carry concealed on campus and they say it's preventing these kinds of tragedies at their school.
It's a typical Thursday afternoon Spanish lesson for High School principal and teacher Mark Hayes and his students. As they turn the pages, many of them, even Hayes, are thinking about the tragic events that unfolded in Florida.
"Any time there's a school shooting it's tragic," said Hayes. "Whenever I see this on the news, I always think of our action plan, our policies."
They have a policy that involves guns. Since 2015, a select number of the school's staff are legally armed. They're carrying concealed as they walk the halls.
"I've been in numerous other schools in my career, so at this juncture and being in a rural school, I feel very safe," said Okay Superintendent Pete Hiseley.
It's a policy that, so far, is working for them. The school has a sign posted on campus letting the public know they mean business.
"In this day and age, We have put policies in place that will protect our children. At the end of the day, that is the bottom line," said Hiseley.
Sadly, school shootings are not uncommon anymore, and with this innovative, unique approach to keeping students safe, other schools are taking notice.
"I know that there's many schools that have contacted us and are in the process of training," said Hiseley.
As far public opinion on this goes, it was hard to find someone who disagreed with the policy.
Hayes offers even more insight. A parent himself, he says he wouldn't want his little girl attending any other school.
"The Armed Educator Policy is a big part of that. I know she's going to be better protected here than probably any other place," said Hayes. "That's huge to me and I know that's huge to our community."
All of the staff members who are armed have gone through extensive training and will continue to train to keep this place safe from violence and tragedy.