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School Safety Committee to Focus on Student Health, Physical Security in Working Groups

The chairmen of the state House Select Committee on School Safety announced Wednesday members will study student mental health and physical security policies in public working groups beginning in April.

Working groups will help members focus on specific proposals and produce stronger recommendations to the full General Assembly, according to the committee’s co-chairs, Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett).

Representative Josh Dobson has been named Chairman of the Student Health Working Group, while House Majority Leader John Bell has been named Chairman of the Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group. Chairmen Lewis and Torbett will continue to supervise the work of both working groups.

Working group meetings will be held in General Assembly committee rooms open to the public and press. The working groups have been directed to meet twice before short session and bring forward proposals and ideas to the full committee for consideration.

“School safety is a pressing issue for students and educators and this committee will continue to take an innovative approach to finding solutions to keep them secure,” Torbett said.

“After a comprehensive first committee meeting, our members are prepared to move forward with an intense focus on both student health and physical security issues,” Torbett said. 

The Student Health Working Group will focus on student access to tip-lines, school counselors, nurses and psychologists, while exploring methods to improve student social integration, among other issues.

“These working groups will continue to educate members while facilitating their feedback in a robust discussion about school safety needs in North Carolina,” Lewis said. 

The Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group will focus on School Resource Officer training, funding and availability, security for charter and non-public schools, building design, as well as access to security resources and the coordination of local education, law enforcement and emergency services. The committee will also be directed to examine necessary criminal law changes.

“The school safety committee is off to a great start and I’m encouraged the chairs have progressed to focus on specific needs and proposals to protect North Carolina students and teachers,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).

Moore formed the committee in February following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and educators and wounded fourteen.

The Student Health Working Group plans to meet Monday, April 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Room 643 and again on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Room 643.

The Student Physical Safety and Security plans to meet Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Room 643 and again on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Room 544.

A meeting of the full state House Select Committee on School Safety is planned for Thursday, May 10, 2018 at a time to be announced.

Staff

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