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Morning Bell: School leaders review safety plans

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Hadley Sorensen, 16, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is comforted by her mother Stacy Sorensen at a makeshift memorial outside the school in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Hadley Sorensen, 16, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is comforted by her mother Stacy Sorensen at a makeshift memorial outside the school in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Good Monday morning. On Sunday, officials with Oklahoma City Public Schools reported threats against Northwest Classen High School and Taft Middle School.

Classes will be in session Monday, but additional security measures will be in place, spokeswoman Beth Harrison reports.

School leaders across Oklahoma are reviewing crisis plans, increasing security at entrances and holding safety drills following last week's school shooting in Florida. 

"Listen to your children and take their concerns seriously. If they see something, have them say something," said Edmond Public School Superintendent Bret Towne, in a heartfelt letter to parents and guardians. "If they overhear or observe ... a student or former student threatening to harm themselves or others, please immediately report that information to law enforcement or a trusted adult."

The Oklahoman's Tim Willert recently looked at how schools are responding to last week's shooting, and how districts are reviewing and increasing safety measures. 

Tim Coleman, security director for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said the state's largest district (46,000 students) has installed new interior and exterior digital cameras to monitor school sites and facilities.

In addition to a police presence at all district schools and metal detectors at all secondary schools, Coleman said construction on enclosed entrances at 48 schools will start within the next month. The vestibules are designed to limit access to school buildings and will be paid for with bond money.

Grove names new superintendent

Pat Dodson was named last week the new superintendent of Grove schools in northeast Oklahoma. Dodson has worked within the school district since 1993, according to the Grand Lake News

He will replace Sandy Coaly, who announced earlier this school year her intention to retire in June 2018.

“I’ve had a passion for the Grove School District for 25 years,” Dodson, who currently serves as a middle school principal. “The passion drives me to be apart of the best educational system we can have. I’ve always wanted to lead a school district.”

'Hugs for Hope' raises over $648K

With a theme of "Hugs for Hope," the annual Edmond North High School benefit, BALTO, raised $648,760 to help mainly orphans and foster children.

A packed Siberian Gymnasium on Friday saw thousands of teens wildly cheering as the school ended up with the second-highest total in the 23-year history of BALTO, or Bring a Light to Others.

Here's some more news and info from across the Oklahoma education landscape...

The Enid News & Eagle gave a thumbs down to new legislation that would allow children to bring sunscreen to school and to self-apply it without the written authorization of a parent or doctor.

The Norman Public School District will host a teacher job fair March 8 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1801 Stubbeman Avenue. Many teaching positions that will be available next school year already have been posted.

Teens may now apply for the Science Museum Oklahoma apprenticeships. Oklahoma City metro-area students entering seventh through 12th grades can spend the summer increasing science literacy, developing job skills and having fun with the Teen Apprentice Program at Science Museum Oklahoma.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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