TPS focused on student safety

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Reported by: Preston Jones
Updated: 7/16/2013 6:06 pm Published: 7/16/2013 5:09 pm

The latest safety report card for Tulsa Public Schools shows improvements over last year.

In the past year, 88 kids were arrested at school, down 40 percent from last year.

Bullying and suspensions have also dropped, but school leaders said not enough.

When it comes to safety Cassandra Frederiksen said she feels safe dropping off her daughter, Lily, at school.

"They're getting her out of the vehicle and they walk her into the building. There are teachers all along the way I've gone in there before," said Frederiksen

By the end of the year every school in the system will have cameras and security entries.

"I like it. Even though it may be a pain to have to go through that process, it's nice to know that just anybody can't go in and have their way with anybody," she said.

There's also been fewer firearms found in schools, just one in the past year, but Campus Police Chief Gary Ruddick said that's one too many.

"One firearm is a trigger-pull away from a tragedy that is of epic proportions. It's permanent, it's terrifying," he said.

Middle schools are posing the biggest problems, with more than 800 bullying incidents and 2,800 suspensions in the past year. So, what's being done?

"Add discipline deans, add assistant principals, add some additional alternatives to suspension," said Ruddick.

He also said the school can only do so much.

"You have to teach kids that when they see something, they say something, if we're really going to make our schools safe, it starts with kids," he said.

"Teaching does start at home, and if I don't teach her then I can't rely on the teachers to do something that I can't do myself," said Frederiksen.

Ruddick told FOX23 he'd like to see an entire year without a gun in a school, a reduction in other weapons and fewer long-term suspensions. He said he'd like it to be that the schools are the safest place for kids.

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