State News

NC school safety task force holds first meeting

Posted December 4, 2013

— A panel asked by Gov. Pat McCrory to recommend ways to make North Carolina public schools safer held its first meeting Wednesday in downtown Raleigh.

The Governor's Task Force on Safer Schools – a group of 20 educators, law enforcement officers and health and social service workers – spent Wednesday hearing about some new initiatives approved by the General Assembly and organizing subcommittees on certain topics.

McCrory created North Carolina Center for Safer Schools in March, three months after 20 students and six teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The center held forums statewide earlier this year to collect information that was used to develop a comprehensive approach to school safety. It released a report in September that included 80 recommendations in the areas of prevention, intervention, crisis response and recovery to help make schools safer.

Among those recommendations:

• Establishing an anonymous reporting system for schools statewide.

• Requiring all schools to have a safety plan and update it every two years.

• Encouraging all districts to participate in all-hazards training.

• Developing alternatives to out-of-school suspensions.

• Expanding bullying prevention efforts.

• Using technology to make school buses safer.

Already this year, the Legislature set aside $9 million in matching funds for school districts to hire additional resource officers and install and maintain classroom panic alarms.

Lawmakers also passed legislation this summer requiring every school to give local law enforcement copies of keys to all doors and schematic drawings of the school's layout.

North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry says he believes the governor's task force should focus on the areas of prevention and intervention first.

"The truth is if we reach Stage 3 – crisis response – we've failed in a way, with respect to our overall mission," Perry said. "I think crisis response is good. I think recovery plans are good, but we have to prevent."

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  • The Deadhead Dec 4, 1:52 p.m.

    They should allow administrators the option to have access to some type of defensive weapon inside the building - gun, stun gun, pepper blaster, bazooka, something. Allowing them to be helpless sitting ducks is no longer an option. Times have changed for the worse. There are more bad people out there. It can be accessible just like a defibrillator on a wall. Every school should have a video camera pointed at the main entrance with a live video monitor at the front administration desk so they can see who's coming in during the day. My daughter's school does not have that. Yet they raise thousands of dollars each year in "numerous" fund-raising activities. They could likely pay for this with "one" of the many fund-raisers each year that drain parents, grandparents, and friends pockets.

  • jonstewartrules Dec 4, 11:56 a.m.

    The NRA has come out with a study that states we should arm all of our 3rd graders and up. I'm just worried about what will happen when some of them don't want that extra homework assignment. ALEC fully supports this legislation and we should be hearing from our legislators soon on this matter. My guess is they'll include 2nd graders, after all, they're at that perfect time in their lives where they'll soak up so much more information, and an informed shooter is a good shooter. But whatever the outcome, it will involve arming more folks if at all possible.