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N.C. Attorney General Hopes 'Black Boxes' Will Help Schools During Crisis

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RALEIGH — Teachers, staff and administrators now have a new tool to help manage a crisis at school.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper introduced the "Critical Incident Response" kit on Monday morning.

The kits are designed to speed up response in the event of an emergency.

"We need to do everything we can to prevent school violence from happening," Cooper said. "But we know that it can happen. We have to believe in North Carolina that it can happen, and that's why we need to be ready for a response."

All 2,000 of North Carolina's schools will receive a kit, which contains keys, school maps, alarm codes, student and faculty rosters, a master schedule, bus routes and other information schools need to help law enforcement react quickly.

The kits also have a video dramatization called "What To Do In The First 20 Minutes" that contains specific procedures for faculty and staff to follow in the event of an incident.

The kits, which cost $50 each, will be updated every year and are part of a program designed to prepare school faculty, law enforcement and rescue personnel for the possibility of a violent crisis on campus.

A wireless phone will also be given to every public school in 78 counties as part of a

legal settlement

reached in Sept. between the state and Alltel Communications.

Cooper said that the incident at Columbine High School in Colo. is an example of why the kit and preparedness program are necessary.


Michelle Singer