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January 23, 2013

Commission has first meeting

NORMAN — Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb hosted the first meeting of the Governor’s Commission on School Security on Tuesday afternoon, and Norman members Darry Stacy, a county commissioner, and Jerry McConnell, facilities director for the Moore Norman Technology Center, left feeling confident in its swift productivity.

“The meeting went very well,” Stacy said. “This first meeting was very much about laying the groundwork, setting precedents and understanding where we are currently in Oklahoma with school security.”

McConnell said the tone of the two-hour meeting was very focused, and he felt a great sense of purpose in the committee’s temporary nature.

“This is not going to be a perpetual committee. Our deadline is March 2, and the meetings go straight through without breaks. This is all business,” McConnell said.

Immediately notable features for Stacy and McConnell were the diversity of the 22-member commission, the constructive interaction and community information-seeking members were charged with and Lamb’s emphasis on leaving the gun issue to the federal government.

The committee was formed following the December massacre of elementary students and teachers in Connecticut.

“Lt. Gov. Lamb made it very clear that guns are a federal issue and we will not be worrying about that, which didn’t surprise me,” Stacy said. “We already have people with firearms in schools, and those are police officers and armed security, and they’re quite well-trained. The question for this commission is whether we want to expand SRO programs we already have.”

McConnell said the informational meeting was a wealth of insight to share with the community, particularly regarding mental health.

“I’m very glad to see mental health be such a big part of this,” McConnell said. “I think mental health is key, and in the meeting, I learned about free mental health resources schools can tap, which I’d never heard of.”

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