Armed Okla. schools respond to int'l attention

Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 00:25:39-05

Signs declaring staff members may be armed at Okay Public Schools have gained international feedback– much of it positive, according to school administrators.

Principal Mark Hayes said the naysayers are often uninformed.

"People say, 'Why not hire a security company?' The Oklahoma education budget is being slashed, it feels like, almost daily. This is the next best thing," Hayes said.

Hayes won't reveal which staff members are armed, but said they go through the same background checks and training as armed security guards.

Without a city police force, Hayes said this option makes sense for Okay and many parents and teachers agree.

"I think it's a great thing for this little community. All we have is Wagoner County (Sheriff's Office). That's all we have," said Troy Rappe, father of Okay students.

Belinda Clark is a mom and teacher in Okay who also supports the policy.

"It may not be a solution for bigger schools but it is what fits for our school district," she said.

Hayes said the firearms stay with the licensed carrier or locked up at all times, and the gun policy is best explained by the now famous sign outside.

"I thought a lot about how to word thisthe sign says it all. We're not trying to be tough guys. We're not trying to make a stand of any kind other than we will stand up for our students," he said.

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