Gov. McCrory explains action plan to create safer schools - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Gov. McCrory explains action plan to create safer schools

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Gov. McCrory announced the creation of the Governor's Task Force for Safer Schools during a visit to Hoggard High School. Gov. McCrory announced the creation of the Governor's Task Force for Safer Schools during a visit to Hoggard High School.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Governor Pat McCrory was at Hoggard High School in Wilmington Friday morning to announce the creation of the Governor's Task Force for Safer Schools.

The task force will have as many as 20 members including school board members, public school teachers and students.

Also on the task force will be Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos and Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry, who joined McCrory at the announcement in Wilmington.

The governor also released the Center for Safer Schools 2013 Report.

The report was broken down into four sections:

  1. physical security
  2. mental health
  3. school climate
  4. emergency preparedness.

Each section gives a brief explanation into why the topic is important to school safety and provides tips to accomplish those ideas.

PHYSICAL SECURITY

In the report, McCrory explains that schools are "soft targets" because of their "openness to the public." He explained that a few low-cost modifications can make them a harder target.

The report highlights the ideas of crime prevention using access control, surveillance, and having well-defined school boundaries. Other recommendations outlined include:

  • hiring school resource officers

  • encourage school districts to utilize the safe school facility planner for new construction or renovations

  • encourage state and local law enforcement to have higher visibility around campus

MENTAL HEALTH

According to McCrory, the safety report took an in-depth look at how schools can address the mental health need of their students and staff to prevent violent incidents. The report says many violent incidents like shootings, bomb threats, and fights are caused by someone within the school.

Some of the recommendations in the report include:

  • creating innovative strategies for integrating behavioral health and substance abuse services on/or nearby school services

  • increase resources for Crisis Intervention Team training

  • develop additional resources to ensure access and training on Youth Mental Health First Aid

SCHOOL CLIMATE

McCrory explained that feeling safe at school will help students feel socially and emotionally safe as well. The governor said this kind of climate requires fostering positive behavior and minimizing threats of bullying and violence among other things.

The report recommends schools should establish an anonymous reporting system for school safety concerns, and encourages schools to have more effective alternatives to suspension.

Additionally, the report suggests:

  • schools provide technical assistance on how to create a positive social climate

  • continue to educate schools regarding the harmful impacts of bullying; and find solutions for bullying prevention

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

The governor went on to explain that it is essential for schools to take measures to make sure they are ready for an emergency in order to create a safe living environment. Emergency preparedness was defined as developing and exercising emergency response plans and implementing the proper training.

To increase emergency preparedness, the report suggests schools:

  • develop a best practice guide on crisis mitigation and response

  • are required to have a safe school plan and group rehearsal that is updated at least every two years

According to McCrory, some of the action items included in the report have already been completed. For instance, additional funding has been budgeted for SROs and panic alarm systems.

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