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From school safety to our teachers, how to move forward, North Carolina

Since the shooting at UNCC, we have been working around the clock to think of ways to address school safety in new and innovative ways. After the school shooting at Butler High School, we did research. We published a series. An important conference was held at UNC’s School of Education. We just learned all that wasn’t enough to keep it from happening again.

At our Bridge convening earlier this week (more to come on that, y’all), a participant asked when are we going to stop admiring our most complex problems.

Twenty years after Columbine, our inability to tackle this public policy issue lies in part with the reality that policymakers for the most part have the experience of feeling as if our classrooms and our schools are safe places. But now there is a whole generation of students growing up who have never felt safe in our learning environments.

EducationNC is ready to empower and include students in this process going forward. Next week, expect us to launch “The Student’s Session,” inviting every student in North Carolina to weigh in on the issues of gun violence and school safety.

It will begin with statements with which students can agree or disagree, and then the students will also be able to craft their own statements. For example, here are some potential statements from a RAND study,

  • Physical surveillance, including weapons deterrence and the presence of security guards or officers on campus, mitigates school violence.
  • School policies designed to prevent violence by punishing those who perpetrate violence mitigate school violence.
  • Instruction-based programs designed to address the precursors of violence, including bullying, mitigate school violence.
  • Counseling at-risk students as well as conflict mediation and resolution mitigate school violence.

We will see what solutions bubble up, and hopefully we will end up with a new starting place so North Carolina can actually lead the way on this issue. If you have a statement you would like us to include email me at mrash@ednc.org. 

And get ready, next week I’m going to be asking all of you to help us launch “The Student’s Session.”

These are the sources EdNC checks every day: The New York Times, Education Week, The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, Inside Higher Ed, Education Next, Vox, Governing, NPR Ed, The News & Observer and Wake Ed Blog, The Charlotte Observer, Carolina Public Press, The Asheville Citizen-Times, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Fayetteville Observer, The Greenville Daily Reflector, Wilmington-Star News, The Hickory Daily Record, The Durham Herald-Sun, The Greensboro News & Record, The Lexington Dispatch, FOX Breaking News, WRAL, WUNC Radio, The Associated Press, State Government Radio, The Governor’s News, The Lieutenant Governor’s News, The N.C. General Assembly’s News, DPI’s News, The Carolina Journal, NC Policy Watch, and NC SPIN. If you have a source you’d like us to consider or an article you think needs to be included, email mrash@ednc.org.


Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.


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