An Oklahoma school district is doing everything possible to protect its 400 students, including giving its teachers and staff the authority to carry guns on school grounds. The school also posted signs to warn away anyone thinking the school is a soft target.
“If something were to ever happen and I didn’t try to defend my kids, I couldn’t live with that,” said Charles McMahan, superintendent of Okay schools in rural Wagoner County. “That’s kind of why we put this in place.”
“… if it saves a life, it saves a life,” he said.
Last May, an Oklahoma state law was signed that allows certain people to carry handguns on the grounds of a public school. In response, the Okay Public Schools board developed its policy to allow employees who meet state and local standards to carry a concealed weapon or keep a gun at school in a locked box.
As a warning, the school has posted signs posted that read, “Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”
“(Okay’s) sign might be enough to send somebody down the road looking for some other soft target,” McMahan said. “If that’s what it does, it’s helping our school district out.”
McMahan said protecting students is the ultimate goal of the policy.
“We’re trying to do everything possible for the safety of our kids,” he said. “We’ve tried to think out every detail. I’m not saying we have. If we see something else that needs to be adjusted, we’ll go through and rewrite the policy and have the board approve it.”
The community supports the policy.
“Our kids need to be safe here on campus because we are such a rural area,” said Lucretia Echols, who has three grandchildren in the schools. “Law enforcement is so far away.”
“If someone wants to come in and start shooting, someone should be able to interrupt it.” said Robert Weller, grandfather of one Okay student.