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Chicken-Fried News: Open arms

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INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

In a series of events that once again prove that pretty much every national conversation can be tied back to Oklahoma, it was revealed last week that the tiny Porter Consolidated School district is at least partly responsible for that brief few weeks when it looked like the federal government might spend money to arm its teachers.

This should be filed under the “Wait. That actually makes sense” tab here at the Chicken-Fried News office because the Porter School Consolidated District, which includes an elementary school and combined middle and high school in Porter— a town of less than a thousand people in Wagoner County — does allow school staff to be armed.

Last August, national news outlets reported that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was considering a plan to use federal money for school districts to spend on guns as a safety measure following mass school shootings in Houston and Florida.

A Freedom of Information request by multiple non-governmental organizations revealed that the request for funding firearms training came from three schools in Texas and Porter Superintendent Charles McMahan, according to The Oklahoman.

“We have implemented an armed staff policy at my school and was wondering if there is any money or grants that could help with our training,” McMahan wrote in the email, according to The Oklahoman.

Oklahoma is one of more than 20 states in the country that allows teachers to have concealed weapons, though it is up to local school districts. McMahan told The Oklahoman that staff is required to go through extensive training — more than law enforcement — if they are going to pack heat in the classroom.

McMahan said he’d spent more than $4,000 of his own money on training and ammunition for a security measure that he said is important, especially for rural communities where first responders take longer to reach in time of an emergency.

McMahan might be onto something for getting necessary school funding. Since the Legislature missed the April 1 deadline for proper education funding (again), perhaps if they labeled boxes of books with “guns” instead, they would have a chance to be fully funded.

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