NC school safety task force holds first meeting
Posted December 4, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. — 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."