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City grade schools to get police with guns

In an effort to be proactive about student safety and security, beginning immediately armed police officers will be at every elementary site in the district, Superintendent Tom Deighan announced Thursday.

During an executive session of the Lawton Board of Education, members, with military representative Col. Samuel Curtis, Deighan, LPS school attorney Chuck Wade and LPS Chief of Police David Hornbeck, discussed safety and security issues including assessments of the vulnerability of facilities, said Kent Jester, new board president.

"As everyone knows there were terrible events that happened yesterday in Florida. It is every person's nightmare, every parent's nightmare, every child's nightmare," Deighan said, explaining it was necessary for the board to meet in executive session because details of the district's security and safety plans can't be released "because it will give the bad guys an opportunity."

After explaining that Lawton Public Schools is one of the few districts in the entire state to have its own police department, with licensed police officers led by Chief Hornbeck, Deighan said, "One thing we are starting immediately under Chief Hornbeck's guidance  we already have armed police officers in our secondary schools, high schools and middle schools, every day. Beginning immediately, we are implementing we have armed police officers in every elementary (school), every day." 

This change and other changes that may be implemented "will be assessed as we go along," he said, adding he wanted to thank the teachers, staff and our police officers "for the efforts they do on a daily basis to keep the children safe." 

Both Clodfelter and Edwards mentioned that Deighan had been looking at changes even prior to event in Florida and appreciated that he and the district are being proactive. 

The second meeting in February each year marks the start of the school board's year of service. Kelly Edwards, who ran for board member seat 3 unopposed last fall, was officially sworn in and the post of president and vice president were passed to the member in the next area seat. Jester in area 5 seat and former vice president was approved as president taking over from Bridges in area 4 seat, while member Clodfelter in area 1 seat was approved as vice president. Neuwirth, area 2 seat; Edwards and Bridges are members. 

The Lawton Constitution

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