Board of Education postpones discussion on school safety one week after student’s arrest for bringing gun to class
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A week after authorities arrested an Ashley High School student who reportedly had a loaded gun in his backpack, the New Hanover County Board of Education planned to hear about school safety.
Board members ended up moving the campus safety issue to the next meeting as part of a larger discussion on strategic plans.
It’s unclear what measures the school system is taking with regard to improving safety at the schools, although school officials have assured us that those conversations are taking place.
The presentation board members were supposed to see on Tuesday included discussions about site designs aimed to prevent crime, keeping entrances locked, and implementing security vestibules at campuses across the district. Some people say that’s not enough to make students feel safe.
“Our schools are dangerously understaffed with support staff, with mental health staff,” said Eden Avery, a concerned community member. “Really, the fact is that students cannot learn if they don’t feel safe.”
Board members also voted 5-2 to change the Call to the Audience Procedures. Under the new rules, only 20 people will be allowed to sign up to speak rather than 30. If more than 20 people ask to speak, a lottery system will be implemented to choose 20 people at random using a random number generator. For those that wish to sign up to speak in person, five slots will be available.
The new Call to the Audience procedures will be in effect for a trial period over the next three months.
Also part of Tuesday’s agenda was a request for an additional $3.3 million from the county. In this request, $1.9 million will go toward paying school district employees’ compensation, employee retirement and health insurance benefits. The rest of the funding will cover rate increases for utilities and insurance costs and charter schools. Board members passed that item unanimously.
A complete budget to be sent to New Hanover County commissioners will be presented at a future meeting.
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