- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2016

New signs posted by a rural Oklahoma school district warn criminals that armed employees on campus are willing to use “whatever force is necessary” to protect students.

The Okay Public Schools Board of Education passed an “Armed School Employees” policy in August. The signs were posted Monday as a deterrent, Superintendent Charles McMahantold the Muskogee Phoenix.

“Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students,” the signs read.

The school’s policy, spearheaded by High School Principal Mark Hayes, is designed to make up for the security they lost since the Okay Police Department was disbanded in December 2014, the Muskogee Phoenix reported.

“There have been numerous shootings in the country, and we want to keep our students safe,” Mr. Hayes said. “These are our kids.”

Only one Okay employee is approved to carry so far. Others must qualify with a Council on Law Enforcement Education Training certification or license; possess an Oklahoma Self Defense Act License; and be CLEET qualified with the firearm, the Muskogee Phoenix reported.

After an employee has completed the qualifications, they may submit themselves to the OPS Board of Education for approval before carrying, Mr. McMahan told the paper.

“Our standards are higher,” he said. “We really wanted people to know this is serious to us; we don’t take this issue lightly.”

“If something were to ever happen and I didn’t try to defend my kids, I couldn’t live with that,” Mr. McMahantold a local CBS News affiliate. “That’s kind of why we put this in place.”

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