The Edmond Sun

September 9, 2013

Schools complete round of lockdown drills

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Back in the day, when you were in school it was fire drills and, if you lived in tornado alley, tornado drills.

Now, after mass shootings in Colorado, Virginia Tech and Connecticut, students, teachers and staff across the country practice lockdown and intruder drills.

In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 256 requires that all public schools conduct lockdown drills in addition to fire, intruder and tornado emergency drills within the first 15 days of instruction.

The law, along with several others, emerged from the Oklahoma Commission on School Security created by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton.

SB 258 requires institutions of higher learning to provide reports to emergency responders and agencies detailing updated plans for protecting students, faculty and visitors from disasters and other emergencies.

SB 257 directed the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security to designate a division within the agency as the Oklahoma School Security Institute. It will serve as a hub of information and resources related to school security and risk assessments to campuses.

SB 259 requires school authorities to immediately tell law enforcement if a firearm is discovered on a student that is not a minor or an adult not authorized to possess a firearm on school property, something Edmond Public Schools already did before the law was passed.

Edmond Public Schools spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said all 26 sites will have completed required drills by Sept. 11. Parks-Schlepp said the district is required to hold four drills — two lockdown and two intruder — each school year.

“We were pleased with the execution of the intruder drills conducted so far,” Parks-Schlepp said. “The faculty and staff took the drills seriously and students reacted properly by remaining quiet and following their teacher’s instructions.”

The drills are a valuable tool for assessing preparedness during a crisis whether inside the school or outside in the community, Parks-Schlepp said.

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said her agency and city emergency management officials met with Edmond Public Schools during their recent professional day.

“We went over all types of emergency management situations and plans from tornadoes to intruders and everything in between,” Monroe said.

Parks-Schlepp said Edmond Public Schools has been conducting lockdown drills for the past 10 years. A lockdown scenario can and has been ordered in response to potential threats near school campuses.

The district periodically invites Edmond Police officers to school buildings where they go through active shooter scenarios, in part to familiarize themselves with the layout of the structures. | 341-2121, ext. 108