Stitt, Walters issue joint statement on school safety initiatives, highlight existing resources | #schoolsaftey

Image from Ryan Walters ‘X’ account

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — State Superintendent Ryan Walters released a joint statement Tuesday morning with Governor Kevin Stitt on X, formerly known as Twitter, regarding Oklahoma’s school safety initiatives:

Image from Ryan Walters ‘X’ account

“I am committed to making sure schools are one of the safest places kids can be. Our Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers have completed extensive active shooter training and troopers all over the state have adopted a school in their county to build relationships and check in on throughout the week. I want to encourage our county and local law enforcement to do the same. We are taking this seriously. Last session, we committed $150 million over the next three years for school safety efforts around the state.”

Governor Kevin Stitt

“Nothing is more precious than the health, safety, and security of young Oklahomans. Our commitment to keep them safe while in our schools is among our most sacred obligations. That’s why we have developed comprehensive school safety measures put in place to prevent and respond to potential threats.”

Superintendent Ryan Walters

In the statement, Walters and Stitt also highlight various violence prevention and response resources under the school safety initiative, but did not indicate when these resources were implemented. According to past press releases on the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) website, several of these resources were already put in place by former Superintendent Joy Hofmeister prior to Walters taking office in January 2023.

The OSDE Office of School Safety and Security (OSSS) was established by Hofmeister in 2018 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The OSSS provides training to teachers and administrators through programs including School Safety and Security Professional micro-credentialing that began back in April 2020, and the Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management training program that launched in January 2021.

In 2019, Hofmeister announced the state-wide implementation of the Rave Panic Button app. The app connects Oklahoma public school staff with first responders in the event of an emergency. As of July 8, 2022, 60% of Oklahoma school districts were actively using the Rave app, and another 25% were in the process of implementing it.

The Awareity reporting program was also implemented under Hofmeister in November 2022. Awareity allows users to anonymously report safety and security threats through an online portal.

No other information was found on the OSDE website to confirm when the other resources listed in Tuesday’s release were established.

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