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Oklahoma School Security Institute working with campuses across Green Country to minimize threats

Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 18:00:59-04

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The Oklahoma School Security Institute was created after the Sandy Hook massacre.

Inspired to take action, the state's school security commission looked to find a way to work with campuses free of charge.

"It's a struggle because they don't have money. So it doesn't do any good for me to come in and say we need to remodel this entire entry point or to do a huge investment in cameras or electronic and magnetic locking devices if you don't have the money," field representative Gary Rudick said.

Rudick does walk-throughs at schools looking for problems, with everything from easily accessible entrances to protecting open windows. Now, the institute is encouraging schools to utilize counselors to create behavioral threat assessments that could prevent a tragedy.

"After an event has occurred you see all these issues, Parkland is a great example. A kid has all these problems and everyone has a piece of this puzzle... but they're not coming together to do an overall assessment of a potential threat," Rudick said.

Rudick worked with Tahlequah Public Schools, and this year the district added two officers to have one in every school. School resource officers tell 2 Works for You, creating relationships is key in catching these threats.

"What we've tried to do is be proactive instead of wait until something happens. We want to try to get ahead of something happening so we don't have to react," Officer Marcus Sams said.

Tahlequah Public Schools staff said the little things can make a big difference, such as number windows and doors, helping first responders to know where they're going.

"It does seem crazy. I've been in the school business for about 35 years and a lot has changed in 35 years. But if you don't you're behind and if you don't you're not safe," director of operations Randy Underwood said.

For more information on the Oklahoma School Security Institute, click here.

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