Education

Safety survey: Most NC middle, high schools use resource officers

Posted March 7, 2013

A Hillsborough police officer patrols outside Central Elementary School on Dec. 17, 2012, in the wake of a school massacre in Connecticut.

— A January survey of the state's 115 school systems by the North Carolina School Boards Association shows that approximately 95 percent of school districts allow all school resource officers to carry firearms but that local school boards are concerned about how to pay for additional officers.

According to the survey, 82.7 percent of North Carolina high schools and 74.7 percent of middle schools have a school resource officer, while only 3.6 percent of elementary schools do.

All resource officers in 108 school districts are allowed to carry firearms, while only some are allowed guns in two districts.

In Wake County, for example, 57 of the district's 64 middle and high schools have school resource officers, all of whom carry weapons. None of the 105 elementary schools, however, has resource officers.

Leanne Winner, director of NCSBA government relations, said Thursday that the goal of the survey was to gather up-to-date information – the last data available was from 2008 – about school security measures to foster a conversation with state leaders.

One concern that was consistent among districts, she said, was financial resources to provide additional security.

"We are obviously starting to have lots of conversations about whether the financial resources will be available from the state to provide additional school resource officers," Winner said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, about 55 percent of funding for school resource officers comes from the state.

The NCSBA, which represents the interests of local school boards in the state, presented its findings Thursday to the North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission. The commission will make decisions, based on the information presented, at its June planning meeting.

Concerns about school security and student safety have been heightened across the country following the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 first-graders and six adults died before the 20-year-old gunman killed himself.

Since the Newtown shootings, some North Carolina officials have called for more funding for schools.

Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote to Gov. Pat McCrory in January asking that lawmakers follow up on recommendations from a 2006 school safety report that suggested more school resource officers and more training for educators on how to recognize and respond to potential safety threats.

23 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Mar 8, 5:09 p.m.

    disgusted2010 - "Interesting how the anti gun folks have to use some "evil sounding" modifier like "assault, high powered, high capacity, to make them sound worse. Pitiful part is they could not define them if they had to."

    I agree.

    Just because a weapon has an "A" in it's name or nomenclature does NOT mean it's an "assault" rifle.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Mar 8, 4:38 p.m.

    superman - "The RO has a handgun and the shooter probably an assult rifle. Anyone would know better than to take a knife to a gunfight."

    Assault weapons are illegal in the US.

    Plus, at least one armed RO may have made a difference. It may have given some of those children Lanza used for target practice a chance.

    Aren't elementary students worthy of that chance???

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Mar 8, 4:37 p.m.

    JustAName - "Stronger doors and windows would have prevented what happened in Newtown."

    You think bullets won't go right through strong windows, allowing a miscreant to enter easily?

    ROFLOL LOL LOL

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Mar 8, 4:36 p.m.

    Why not the elementary schools?

    It was an elementary school that was hit at Sandy Fork, and our elementary schools in NC are just as vulnerable as it was.

  • disgusted2010 Mar 8, 4:28 p.m.

    “Having an armed person anywhere does not prevent people with high powered guns from shooting people. It's like security at the mall... It never prevents someone from doing crime.” lisaclark2

    Interesting how the anti gun folks have to use some "evil sounding" modifier like "assault, high powered, high capacity, to make them sound worse. Pitiful part is they could not define them if they had to.

  • JustAName Mar 8, 2:18 p.m.

    “Having an armed person anywhere does not prevent people with high powered guns from shooting people. It's like security at the mall... It never prevents someone from doing crime.” lisaclark2

    Stronger doors and windows would have prevented what happened in Newtown.

  • superman Mar 8, 1:55 p.m.

    A RO would be able to break up fights, monitor the hallway, monitor the cafeteria etc but as far as protecting the students from a shooter would be a joke. The RO has a handgun and the shooter probably an assult rifle. Anyone would know better than to take a knife to a gunfight.

  • superman Mar 8, 11:22 a.m.

    A person dressed up in a suit goes into the school they set off the fire alarm and within minutes 3,000 students and teachers are standing outside like shooting ducks. If there is a RO the person just goes to a door other than the front door. Most classrooms have windows on one wall. Person can walk around the side of the building and shoot thru the windows. Lot of students early morning and after school who will be outside getting on or off the bus. How you protect them. Person can stand along the side of the road and shoot the children inside the bus. Students are also outside for lunch, recess, physical ed etc. How can one person protect students inside where they are students outside. If you really believe there is a security problem what salary would you expect knowing that "you" will be their first target? Who knows one of the teachers that you have allowed to carry and have a gun may be a person who will be the next shooter.

  • vrigg45071 Mar 8, 10:57 a.m.

    I taught in a Wake Co. middle school for several years. We had a resource officer (Wake County Deputy)for many of those years. He was wonderful with our kids and we had a great deal of confidence in his ability to handle any situation. However,he was only one man in a school of over 900 kids. There is no way a resource officer is going to protect an entire school from someone with a gun. It is logistically impossible.

  • godshelper Mar 8, 9:56 a.m.

    I think every school in North Carolina should have a "Armed, SWORN, Law Enforcement officer on the grounds at all times. This includes elementary schools through high school levels. I believe that every teacher, teachers aid and any other staff member who is willing to receive training on the use of a firearm and who is willing to carry a firearm should be given the opportunity. They should carry it like Police Officers do attached to the hip, not stuffed in a desk. I believe this will solve a lot of the problem. If we are going to leave our kids in someone elses care for a long period of time then they need to be able to protect our children while they are there. One officer is not enough to cover one entire school with numerous entrance and exits. There needs to be a minimum of 2 officers and however many staff members that will accept the responsibility.

More...