Durant superintendent responds to school security recommendations

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DURANT, OKLAHOMA -- These are the recommendations an Oklahoma school security panel made Tuesday: more mental health education, mandatory school intruder drills, requiring school officials to report illegal firearms found on school property and re-establishing a school security tip line.

These measures would be monitored by the Oklahoma School Security Institute -- a new organization operated under the state Office of Homeland Security.

"I think anytime you have a group of leaders talking about safety of children, it's never a bad thing," Durant Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said.

Simeroth has been focusing on school security for his district. A portion of the $5.8 million dollar Durant school bond that passed Tuesday night will go toward safety enhancements.

"Playground security, we have some access points that we want to further restrict, you know, make a lot of key card entrances, we have a couple we need to add and a ton of surveillance," Simeroth said.

Simeroth says the state's report overlooks the importance of helping fund officers in schools. Durant has two school officers, but they're expensive for districts to afford.

"We partner with the county sheriff's department and we have an officer at the high school and an officer at the middle school," Simeroth said.

Simeroth says Durant previously used a state school security tip-line, which is no longer available.

"We had calls frequently; we always acted on them and the process was once you made a decision, or once you took action, you had to report that back to the state," Simeroth said.

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