Local News

Governor's School Safety Task Force Issues Recommendations

Posted July 13, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— School violence has spread across the country, and Governor Hunt wants to protect North Carolina students from it. A state task force he appointed to look into the problem is expected to wrap up its work Wednesday.

In the 1997-98 school year, there were more than 7,500 incidents of violence reported in North Carolina schools, down 7 percent from the year before. For many students and parents that is not low enough.

Southeast Raleigh High Schoolstudent Devan Tripp knows how violence can affect a student's education.

"If you're comfortable, you're more accepting of learning, of your teachers, and to feeding more information to yourself than if you feel unsafe," Tripp says.

Tripp is a member of the Governor'sTask Force on Youth Violence and School Safety.

Task force members say involving everyone in the process is the key to reducing violent episodes.

"Research tells us that when you form that triangle of the parent, the student and the teacher you have better academic success," says Richard Moore, secretary ofCrime Control and Public Safety. "When you have better academic success, you have a safer school."

North Carolina has many safe schools, and parent Michael Lewis says the task force is one more step in the right direction.

"I believe that it'll work," Lewis says. "If I didn't, I wouldn't be here."

The task force completed work on a list of recommendations they want sent to all North Carolina schools. Recommendations include:

  • forming smaller schools with more counselors, social workers and nurses
  • providing a mentor for every student that needs one
  • having zero tolerance for disruptions while allowing alternative education for every expelled or suspended student
  • rewarding schools for parental involvement"School safety, in terms of what we're looking at, and have been looking at over the last few weeks, is everybody's business," says Chief George Sweat, director of the state's Office of Juvenile Justice.

    "Even if you have a child that you think has got his act together, or her act together, what about the child sitting next to that child?" he asks.

    The group wanted to finalize the recommendations in time for some of them to be in place by the start of the school year.