The Edmond Sun

Local News

January 13, 2011

Edmond schools ahead of Legislature on student bill

First school receives ‘LobbyGuard’

EDMOND — Edmond Public Schools already is doing much of what a bill filed by a state senator would require all public elementary schools to do.

Senate Bill 64, authored by state Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, would create a new law requiring each school to compile and maintain a roster of persons permitted to obtain the release of a student in kindergarten through eighth grade.

A list of persons permitted to obtain the release of the student would be obtained from the student’s parents or guardian when the student is enrolled.

Under the legislation, a student would not be released to any person unless they are identified on the school roster and they present a state-issued photo ID card verifying their identity.

Also, the parents or guardian of the student would be required to notify the school of all changes to child custody including but not limited to child custody agreements pursuant to a divorce decree.

If passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, the bill would become effective July 1.

Garrison, the retired superintendent of Indian Capital Technology Center who serves on the Senate Education Committee, said he knows many school districts already have such policies in place, but Oklahoma’s system is not well defined. The bill would standardize it and prevent the unauthorized pick-up of students, he said.

Garrison said there would be no cost to implement the bill. Most people he’s spoken with about it favor it while some think school districts are already doing enough, he said.

“I’d rather err on the side of too much safety for our children,” Garrison said.

Lynne Rowley, executive director of elementary education, said Edmond Public Schools already keeps a record in compliance with the language in the bill for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The district seeks to take every possible measure it can to keep students safe, Rowley said.

“It’s a procedure that’s been in place,” she said.

When a student is enrolled in the district, the enrollment form includes parent or guardian contact information, and space for up to four contacts, Rowley said.

During school hours visitors must go first directly to the office where they sign in and out, Rowley said. If employees are not familiar with a parent or guardian they will ask for a photo ID, she said.

All visitor badges or stickers must be easily identifiable by building staff as a visitor badge, according to district policy. The badges are good for one day only.

Employees are instructed to escort any visitor found in the building without a visitor badge to the office to sign in, according to district policy. Employees should not accept visitors into their classroom or work areas who have not checked in at the office.

Log sheets are reviewed daily to ensure all guests have signed out, according to district policy. And safety officers conduct spot inspections to ensure that visitor procedure is being followed.

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