The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 13, 2013

In praise of Commission on School Security

OKLA. CITY — I am proud of Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb for his leadership and applaud the members of the Commission on School Security for their recommendations to improve the safety of our schools and students.

Like most of you who have children, when I hear about a child who has been hurt or killed or who has committed suicide I become very upset. I imagine losing my own daughter or seeing her hurt. I believe most Oklahomans will wholeheartedly endorse the commission’s recommendations: to form an Oklahoma School Security Institute, establish a mental health first aid training pilot program, consolidate safety drills, require the reporting of firearms to local law enforcement and establish a school security tip line.

Bullying is tied very closely to school safety, because young people who are bullied and especially those who are mentally ill can become unstable. We have all heard of suicides resulting from bullying and there also have been stories of shooters whose mental health issues were further aggravated by bullying. I was especially upset about the suicide of a young man who was set to enroll in Douglass Mid-High.

Teen suicides are on the rise in our state. Five Oklahoma students committed suicide, 43 attempted suicide and 37,551 reports of bullied students were made during the 2010-11 school year, according to the state superintendent’s office. There were 484 calls from suicidal children made to the Family & Children’s Services COPES hotline in the past year. Students from across the state who are aware of the dangers of bullying commemorate the death of Ty Smalley every year, who killed himself after being bullied.

One bill making its way through the process this year would create middle school health courses that would address bullying and mental health, among other topics. House Bill 2279 has bipartisan support. The only thing standing in its way is that it would cost money and, with so many budget requests, this important measure is often overlooked.

There also are many excellent community resources available to schools.

Locally, the Eagle Ridge Institute Eagle Wings program mentors high-risk youth and addresses bullying prevention. The organization serves more than 700 children each year, receiving some of those children via recommendations from surrounding schools Douglas, Centennial, Northeast Academy and Rogers Middle School as well as calls from parents with children who are having difficulties with communication.

COPES Inc. provides mental health and rehabilitation services including marriage counseling, behavioral counseling and substance abuse treatment.

I’ve worked in the past with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy who regularly makes legislative recommendations to improve the wellbeing of children in our state.

I plan to be among those pushing for the enactment of the Commission on School Safety’s recommendations into law. I hope you will join me in lending your voice to the effort and would also ask that you join me and students from across Oklahoma in our annual anti-bullying rally at the Capitol each May.

 

REP. ANASTASIA A. PITMAN represents House District 99, which includes portions of Oklahoma City and Nichols Hills. She can be contacted at 557-7393.


 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results