Local News

Durham Schools Develop Plan to Curb Violence

Posted April 19, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— With threats and assaults becoming more and more common in schools, one Triangle school district is developing a plan to respond to concerns about violence. Durham has a new school safety plan.

It's called the Durham Public Schools' Safe and Orderly Schools Plan. The school board received a copy of the plan Monday afternoon. It seeks to deal with the violence in our society and in our schools.

Donna Smith, assistant superintendent of Durham schools, says the new plan is based on a zero-based-tolerance system.

Mike Wood is a concerned Durham parent who says his youngest son is constantly harassed and beaten at Glen Elementary School. He says if something isn't done, any place is susceptible to what happened in Jonesboro, Ark. or Paducah, Ky., where students were killed by other students with guns.

Just last week, Regina Fountain described to WRAL how her daughter received a letter from a fellow fourth-grade student at the same school telling her she would be stabbed. Fountain says a verbal threat that the child would be shot followed. That threat was so convincing, that Chapel Hill Police Lt. Everette Johnson spent several days in the child's classroom, where his own son is also a student.

Johnson says he takes such threats very seriously.

School administrators will not address the specifics of the case because of its rules of confidentiality, but the parents are still seeking an immediate remedy that will lessen the fears they have for their children.

The plan will be shared with schools, parents, community-based organizations, law enforcement and community agencies.