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School Safety Committee speakers set for Friday hearing in Cleveland County

The North Carolina House Select Committee on School Safety will receive presentations from state Superintendent Mark Johnson, Center for Safer Schools Director Kym Martin, and local education and law enforcement officials in Cleveland County at its legislative hearing in Shelby, N.C. this Friday.

Cleveland County Schools Superintendent Stephen Fischer, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, and police chiefs from Shelby, Boiling Springs, and Kings Mountain, are all scheduled to address the school safety committee on Friday.

Paul Norcross, the founder of Phoenix Academy charter school in High Point, N.C., will provide a presentation on the active shooter detection system his school installed in August believed to be the first of its kind in North Carolina.

Other education officials contributing to the committee agenda include Student Services Coordinator Sandy Hamrick and Executive Director of Administrative Services Rodney Boarders from Cleveland County Schools.

Erika Berry, Senior Policy Adviser at the state’s Department of Public Instruction, and North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), are also scheduled to address the committee.

Representative John Torbett (R-Gaston) will serve as chairman of Friday’s committee meeting in Shelby, N.C.

Read more about the committee’s work on its website.

Background

The state House Select Committee on School Safety was formed by Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in February following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that tragically killed 17 students and teachers.

The committee was divided into working groups on Student Health and Student Physical Safety and Security and submitted an extensive report in May 2018 on its findings and recommendations to the North Carolina General Assembly.

Aided by the committee’s findings, the full state legislature invested more than $35 million in school safety measures in 2018 to fund confidential reporting services, additional school resource officers and nurses, mental-health grants for students in crisis, security equipment upgrades, and training for education personnel to improve classroom security.

Another $241 million of lottery funding was directed to build or upgrade public school facilities in 2018, and school safety leaders are seeking federal funding grants as well.

The committee was recently reauthorized by Speaker Moore to continue meeting after the short legislative session and is hosting off-site meetings at locations around North Carolina.

Staff

EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.