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Morning Bell: New abuse reporting law in place

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Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Monday morning! A new Oklahoma now requires citizens to report suspected child abuse or neglect "immediately" rather than just "promptly."

Another new law passed by the Legislature this year makes it mandatory for teachers and other school employees to notify law enforcement "of any verbal threat or act of threatening behavior which reasonably may have the potential to endanger students, school personnel or school property."

With Oklahoma schools back in session, teachers throughout the state are being reminded of the legal changes and their obligation to immediately report suspected abuse or neglect by calling the DHS hotline.

You can read more about the law change and how schools are adapting here.

OKCPS will consider calendar change

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel will ask the school board tonight to scrap the district's continuous calendar in favor of one with a later start date and a week off for Thanksgiving.

The board will consider McDaniel's recommendations for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 calendars when it meets at 5:30 p.m. at Northeast Academy, 3100 N Kelley.

The district has operated on a continuous calendar — which includes an early August start date and two-week breaks in October and March — since 2011.

McDaniel, in an email this week to district employees and families, said "it became clear that our early start date hasn't been working for thousands of OKCPS families."

Tulsa board candidate isn't eligible

One of the five finalists for a vacant Tulsa School Board seat apparently doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements specified by state law, despite asserting otherwise on his application, reports the Tulsa World

In two interviews with the Tulsa World, Alvin Okonkwo first said he registered to vote sometime in 2017 but couldn’t recall when. Then, on Friday afternoon, he said he didn’t register to vote in 2017, but still believes that he is eligible for the seat.

Student essay contest offers cash prizes

Freedom of Information Oklahoma is offering cash prizes to high school students in the annual Zach Taylor First Amendment Essay Contest. Students in grades 9-12 must pick one of the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment — speech, press, religion, assembly and government petition — and write about its importance to the American way of life.

Students are encouraged to do factual research on the topic, and to write creatively and personally rather than write a report. The deadline for entries is Oct. 24. You can learn more about the contest here

Jenks apologizes for football tweet

Jenks Public Schools apologized last Wednesday for a tweet from a private account maintained by parents of Jenks football players that obliquely criticized former professional football player Colin Kaepernick and his continued corporate sponsor, Nike, reports the Tulsa World.

“Jenks Public Schools sincerely apologizes for the recent tweet from @JenksFootball making an indirect reference to Nike. The tweet posted by the @JenksFootball Twitter account was completely inappropriate. The views expressed in the tweet are most certainly not in line with the views of Jenks Public Schools or the views of the Jenks Athletic Department. The @Jenks-Football account is not affiliated with Jenks Public Schools or the Jenks Athletic Department,” the suburban district said in a statement.

That does it for today's Morning Bell. Got a question, comment or story idea? Send an email to bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Related Photos
Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-55cb00c26ad91e844fef1ea5b112b15d.jpg" alt="Photo - Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Children hold hands as they walk together to their classrooms on the first day of school at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on SE Grand Blvd. Students returned to classrooms across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, as Oklahoma City Public Schools started another school year. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
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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