McCrory creates NC center to boost school safety

Posted March 19, 2013

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday announced the creation of the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools to examine the best school security programs nationwide and determine which fit best in school districts across the state.

The center, part of the state Department of Public Safety, will be headed by Kym Martin, an Apex mother of four and a former educator.

"We have to do everything we can to protect our students in our schools," McCrory said at a news conference at Apex Middle School.

"We have to be aware of alcohol and drug abuse that often is occurring in our schools and can result in violence," he said. "We have to be worried about potential domestic violence that spills over – just like it does on corporate campuses – on school campuses. We have to be aware of gang activity that does exist in many of our schools in North Carolina."

DPS Secretary Kieran Shanahan said the center will take a critical, dispassionate view and of the issue of school security. He emphasized that the center will be a collaboration with local districts and boards of education.

“We’re not here to tell schools and communities what to do," Shanahan said. "We want to work with schools, communities and families on an individual basis to meet their localized needs.”

School safety center to review programs nationwide School safety center to review programs nationwide

Eight public forums will be held in April, starting April 9 in Edenton, to gather input before initial recommendations are made to the governor in May.

McCrory said the center could propose legislation and policy changes. The cost of the center wasn't detailed, but he said it would be included in his proposed budget, which he will announce on Wednesday.

"To ensure our schools are safe for our children, our teachers, our administrators and support personnel," he said, "the Center for Safer Schools will bring together in one place all the tools that North Carolina communities need to safeguard our children while providing them with a quality education."

Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos said mental health issues will need to be addressed when discussing school security.

"(We want) to help staff and help identify risk factors and early-warning signals that are necessary to identify potentially violent behavior," Wos said. "(We want) to ensure better access to mental health services inside of our schools through improving training and innovation."

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, applauded the creation of the school safety center, but he said some steps can be taken immediately without reviewing how other locales handle issues.

"We need more school resource officers," Stein said. "We know schools need plans to deal with these types of emergencies, and we know they need to train in those plans."

Martin, the wife of North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin, will have an annual salary of $72,000. State officials touted her experience working with special-needs students, as executive director of a DHHS panel that implemented services for children with developmental disabilities and as manager of multidisciplinary pilot program for college students on the rule of law.


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  • superman Mar 20, 2013

    The center wont do a thing. No funding to do anything. Maybe I need to take a couple days off work and plan how to spend the money when I win the lottery. This is nothing more than telling your child to make up their christmas list and you dont have a job and no money. Whatever they come up with there is no money to implement their recommendations.

  • Tarheel7074 Mar 19, 2013

    This action makes no sense. Surely Secretary Shanahan knew that the Dept. of Public Safety already has a Center for Prevention of School Violence that has been working very successfully and effectively with school superintendents, principals, teachers, counselors and school resource officers for years. This Center has developed School Crisis plans, training programs for school staff and school resource officers and related materials and literature for statewide dissemination. All the Department had to do was to restore adequate funding for this existing Center. Instead they chose to duplicate the existing center with another center headed by another McCrory campaign donor.

  • Relic Mar 19, 2013

    This is the first decision that Governor McCrory has made that I'll gladly say is not good. If you want something to be really messed up, give it to a committee or task force. I don't care if they put the top security specialist in the US in that job, it will not help. Schools will be secure and better when THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN make them behave or take them out and until schools are not used as "day care" for juvenile delinquents by the court. But if every time an administrator gives discipline and a parent whines or the ACLU or NAACP or the AARP want to get involved about "rights" then nothing will help. NOTHING. Bad call to placate the hand-wringers on the Governor's part.

  • Honesty first Mar 19, 2013

    You gotta give old Pat credit. He continues to create jobs for people who are not qualified to fill them.

  • kodac31 Mar 19, 2013

    It would have been much better had the Governor appointed a Law Enforcement Officer, possibly a retired Officer, or even offer the job to a current Law Enforcement Officer to Head this School Safety Panel. Why?? Who out there is better in having the skills, training, and know how, to find come to determinations of the best ways of providing School Security, and complete the mission of overall Safer Schools! Law Enforcement Officers yet again are "thrown under the bus" and seem to always be disregarded as professionals who are not capable enough to lead such a task force. I find it extremely insulting!!!

  • disgusted2010 Mar 19, 2013

    Come on WRAL where is the investigation here. Was this position posted as required by state law? Did the position go through the Office of State Personnel to have the position established and assigned to the appropriate pay grade? Was any type of market study done? Come on, lets have some actual investigative reporting on this.

  • matt_wood Mar 19, 2013

    Isn't it a conflict of interest for a governor to hire the wife of a judge who will likely be ruling on cases involving the decisions of said governor?

  • disgusted2010 Mar 19, 2013

    McCrory is more partisan than Jim Hunt was in 1977. Creating jobs for well connected republicans. I guess this is his way of keeping his promise of creating jobs. Problem is that it only gives jobs to rich republican financial supporters.

  • Dukefan1 Mar 19, 2013

    that's quite a salary. Sure wish hard-working teachers could make that much. Our priorities are so warped!

  • Sherlock Mar 19, 2013

    Funny to put someone not connected to anything with security knowledge in charge. Like everyone is saying just a political appointment.