New initiative petition to get storm shelters in Oklahoma public schools

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DURANT, OK -- A new initiative to put storm shelters in every public school in Oklahoma launches Wednesday, and the man behind the petition visited Durant to rally support for the cause.

Packing more than 200 mile per hour winds a mile wide tornado flattened areas of Moore, Oklahoma including Plaza Towers Elementary, killing seven students.

David Slane says the children who did not survive the storm could have easily been his.

"I have two children that attend the Moore Public Schools and candidly for five hours I didn't know if my children were alive or dead," Slane said.

That is why nearly everyday since then he has been pushing to get storm shelters in every Oklahoma school as the attorney for Take Shelter Oklahoma.

"Everyday over 506,000 students and faculty remain unprotected in our schools everyday from tornados," Slane said.

He says 9,000 of those unprotected students live in Bryan County. Take Shelter Oklahoma wants to change that. They are working to collect at least 160,000 signatures to get the issue on the November ballot.

"This is an initiative petition that would be $500-million dollars statewide. That would give money to the local schools so that they could decide what their needs are as far as tornado shelters or security in their own public schools," Slane said.

Slane says the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management would head up the program, which would be funded by bonds.

Former educators and grandparents Mary-Kathryn Hodge and Marilyn Alexander both intend to sign the petition.

"I support it because I feel like safety of the children is of the upmost importance," Hodge said.

"It really is an issue affecting the safety of our students and we need to look at that not as republican, democrat or independent, but as people who want to take care of the students," Alexander said.

This is actually the second petition Take Shelter Oklahoma has tried to get on the ballot. Slane says the fist one was thrown out after a legal battle with the Attorney General.