Gov. Mike Easley said Monday he asked Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, and Attorney General Roy Cooper to coordinate a comprehensive review of North Carolina's school safety programs in the wake of school shootings in Pennsylvania and Colorado.
Beatty and Cooper are to report back to Easley in two weeks with recommendations for needed improvements.
"The governor is concerned that we're doing all that we can possibly do to keep our children safe while they are in school," Beatty said.
Easley also asked state education leaders to ensure school superintendents begin reviewing their district's safety plans.
The state Department of Public Instruction already conducts an annual review of required safety plans for every school and school district.
"When parents drop their children off at school, they have every right to expect we are doing all we can to provide them a safe and secure environment," Easley said.
According to a 2004-2005 North Carolina school violence report, there were more than 3,402 cases in which someone has been caught on school grounds with possession of a weapon. There were 834 reported assaults on school personnel and 116 reports of possessions of firearm or powerful explosives.
"It's always in the back of my mind," said Sherry Kane, a concerned mother of two who was attending a football game at Garner Magnet High School Monday night.
Kane said she is happy Easley is trying to make state schools safer. She's not alone.
"They can always be safer. You can always try to do more and more and more, but I feel comfortable they are pretty safe today," said Doug Danielson, a parent also watching the Garner Trojans under the lights Monday night.
"I think you got to do more to put more money in the schools to make them safer so that our kids feel safe and don't have to worry about violence when they go to school," said Greg Dunston, the father of a middle school student in Garner.
Beatty said he couldn't agree more.
"If children have to worry if they are safe, they can't focus or concentrate on learning," he said.
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