WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – As the first anniversary of the Connecticut school shooting approaches, a taskforce released its recommendations for making schools in New Hanover and Pender counties safer.
District Attorney Ben David and Chief District Court Judge J. Corpening created the task force in early 2013 in response to the shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The report released Tuesday focuses on preventative measures and building relationships between adults and students so issues can be identified before they become problems.
"We can spend all the money we want to spend on hardening structures, on alarms, on cameras, on locks, but we still have to take care of the young people who are within our schools, and if they have needs that need to be met, then we need to find a way to meet them," Corpening said.
The recommendations call on school districts to make sure caseloads aren't too large for counselors, psychologists and nurses.
The report also includes redefining the perception of school resource officers.
"The county sheriffs should establish a clear career path for SROs to ensure that they have continuity in relationship building within the schools," the report states. "To achieve this effectively, SROs should remain in the same schools for as long as possible."
The taskforce called for a two-year position within the judicial district to ensure its recommendations are fully implemented and evaluated.
David said he would ask for state grant funding for the position when he meets with the Governor's Crime Commission Thursday.
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