MPS Superintendent addresses recent Oklahoma shootings

by Corey Holland

Uncommon Sense: See Something, Say Something

Corey Holland/Marlow Public Schools Superintendent

This past weekend, (August 25, 2023) there were three gun incidents at Friday night football games across our state. The most serious incident occurred at Choctaw High School where three individuals were shot. One 16-year-old student ultimately died from his injuries. The live feed video of the students and fans fleeing from the stadium was horrifying. Ultimately, it revealed a truth that is difficult to accept.

There are no places in our communities that are free from potential tragedy. With this in mind, it is very important we all do what we can to ensure the safety of those around us. In an effort to provide some guidance on how we can do that, I wanted to provide some safety protocols we have in place for the 2023-24 school year. While this list does not encompass our entire safety procedures, it does highlight some areas where non-school personnel and non-law enforcement people in our community can assist us.

Per state law and board policy, weapons are not allowed on school property apart from law enforcement officers. This year we have a new school resource officer on staff. He and other law enforcement officials will be at our events to monitor and enforce safety measures as needed. They have an extremely tough duty to perform, so it is important we allow them to do so with our full support.

Secondly, elementary and middle school students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to enter our athletic facilities. Additionally, parents and guardians are expected to keep their students under direct supervision throughout the games. We will have administration on hand to monitor the events who may direct your student to return to their seat. Any student not doing so may lose the right to attend future events. In the past, we have had parents drop off their students with plans on picking them up after the game. Now more than ever, we cannot allow this practice to continue. Stories from last weekend of parents hurriedly looking for their young children in the midst of the chaos was heartbreaking.

Ultimately, school events are for spectators to watch and support our students. The events should not be used as childcare opportunities for parents.

Properly monitoring the event/game is made much more difficult if students run around unattended. Please help us by attending with your student and keeping a close watch on them throughout the event/games.

Lastly, it is vital we all agree if we see something, we say something. In two of the gun incidents last weekend, a crisis was averted because someone saw something or heard about something and in both cases, they immediately reported it. In these types of situations, I would strongly suggest we all trust our gut. If something doesn't look right or you hear about a potential situation and it doesn't sit right with you, please report it to law enforcement or school administration.

Better we look into a situation that turns out to be nothing, than to do or say nothing and regret it. See something, say something is a key way we can all work together to ensure the safety of others. The safety of our community and school is very important to all of us. Working together, we can increase the likelihood we avoid incidents like what happened last weekend from occurring here.