FAYETTEVILLE — Educators say more than anything, parents want assurance that children will be safe in school. In one county, students are so safe, the school system has been selected to serve as a model for others to follow across the state.
Parents volunteer to monitor the hallways; cameras catch what administrators cannot; Cumberland County's Safe and Orderly Schools Plan is passing with high marks.
All districts have a plan, and Cumberland County's is working.
"We have seen a fairly significant decrease in crime," says School System Security Supervisor Chip Grammer.
Grammer is now sharing Cumberland's plan with other counties. He says the plan works because it covers every aspect of a student's life.
The plan also gives individual schools choices, and addresses concerns on multiple levels.
"We find that when parents, students, teachers and administrators all come together and come to a common focus then we can work together to come up with solutions. Then we've got a winning team," Grammer says.
Assistant Principal Debbie Poulk is a former teacher and Safe School Coordinator. She created a Safe School office as part of Pine Forest High School's plan. The office is an area where conflicts can be resolved, if they can't be resolved in the classroom.
"Teachers nowadays do not just teach in the subject area they are accustomed to," Poulk says. "They teach kids how to get along."
Cumberland County is sponsoring eight community summits in the month of February to offer parents more input on ways to keep schools safe.