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Morning Bell: Another shooting prompts school safety discussion

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Good Wednesday morning. Three Oklahoma students advanced to the second day of the national spelling bee (more on that below).

But first, school building design standards and identifying troubled students were topics discussed by state Board of Education leaders at a recent meeting in the wake of another school shooting that resulted in multiple casualties.

During a school safety presentation at its May 24 meeting, board members held an open discussion about ways to better protect schools from gun violence.

But most of the ideas tossed around would require legislative action and some board members remarked on how little power they felt they had in preventing a school shooting in Oklahoma.

"We don't know what we are talking about, I don't think," said board member Leo Baxter, whose frustration comes as the nation has seen several school shootings this year.

In my article about the meeting, I look at some of the ideas board members floating, which include better identifying students with mental illness. However, there may be more to it than board members believe. 

First public Montessori school prepares for fall opening

Teachers are preparing for the state's first public Montessori school, which is slated to open this fall. Emerson Elementary in Tulsa represents a blending of public and private dollars, reports the Tulsa World. More than $8 million in Tulsa Public Schools bond funds have paid for the renovation of the building and its expansion so that it could one day serve up to 650 students. And private dollars have paid for the specialized training needed for the 13 new Montessori teachers to earn their certification in the teaching method.

Oklahoma spellers advance

Three Oklahoma middle school students advanced to Day 2 of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday, including two who took a different path to Washington, D.C.

Shawn Terrado, 11, the 2018 Central Oklahoma Bee champion, advanced to Round 3 set for Wednesday. The finals begin Thursday. Shawn, 11, a sixth-grader at Elgin Middle School, correctly spelled the word "pharmacopedia" (information concerning drugs and medicinal preparations).

Muskogee teacher to receive Warrior Gift Box

A fourth-grade teacher in Muskogee at Hilldale Elementary is to get an education care package this summer. from the Warriors for Freedom Foundation, reports the Muskogee Phoenix.  Teacher Lauren Evans will receive a Warrior Gift Box, full of school supplies. 

"It's very beneficial to my classroom," she said. "And I think it's pretty amazing that they're reaching out because my husband is a veteran."

She said her husband, Noah Evans, was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

"He was a nuclear biological chemical defense specialist, and he worked on special vehicles stateside," she said, adding that her husband now is with the Muskogee Police Department.

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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