• 73°

State working to improve school safety

State leaders are urging local law enforcement and school districts to work closely together to ensure that all North Carolina schools are safe and offered state tools and resources to help. 

The Governor’s Crime Commission and the State Emergency Response Commission will apply their expertise to prioritize school safety, Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks announced earlier this month.

In addition, Governor Roy Cooper and Secretary Hooks sent letters asking school superintendents, local law enforcement agency heads, charter school principals and independent schools to work together and with the state to prevent further school tragedies.

“We are shocked and saddened as we learn more about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month. This was a senseless act of violence. We mourn for the lives lost, their families and friends, and pray for the community at large as they deal with this tragedy,” Governor Cooper said in the letter. “But thoughts and prayers alone will not prevent this from happening again. We must work together to ensure that our schools are safe places for children to grow and learn.”

Governor Cooper in his letter called on schools to include local law enforcement and emergency management in their annual school-wide preparedness drills. He also encouraged educators, families and students to share information regarding threats or potential threats with school leaders and law enforcement.

Secretary Hooks in his letter recommended these additional steps to protect schools and communities:

– More rapid deployment training for law enforcement

– Updating school emergency response kits

– Ensuring knowledge of and training on best practices

– Support positive youth mental health and wellness

– Continuously share information on potential threats

Secretary Hooks addressed members of the Governor’s Crime Commission on the issue of school safety, announcing that the Commission will convene a special committee to collaborate on solutions to improve school safety.

“Tragically, school shootings have become too common an occurrence in this country. It is imperative that we utilize every resource available to examine and address threats to our children and educators,” Secretary Hooks said. “We owe it to the people of this state, and most of all our children, to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like what occurred in Parkland, Florida from ever happening again.”

In a letter to Crime Commission members, Secretary Hooks said the committee would include members representing law enforcement, juvenile justice, courts, schools, behavioral health, and others and will identify resources and develop recommendations to strengthen school safety. Secretary Hooks also asked the committee to conduct community forums to gather and share information, listen to concerns and identify possible strategies for preventing gun violence in schools.

Secretary Hooks also asked the State Emergency Response Commission to convene a special committee charged with enhancing school safety. In a letter to commission vice chair Michael Sprayberry, Secretary Hooks tasked the new group with identifying resources and making recommendations to address potential threats and promoting best practices for incident response throughout the state’s school systems. “Our goal is to provide to public safety officials guidance and recommendations on planning, training and response to active assailant incidents,” Hooks noted.

“Addressing the crisis of school violence requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach that involves the community, mental health and public safety professionals,” Secretary Hooks told the Governor’s Crime Commission members. “Our children and teachers deserve our full commitment to address violence in our schools.”

Crime

Uber driver charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting customer in North Carolina

News

Convenience store stop for gas, hot dog and scratch-off tickets yields $200,000 prize for North Carolina man

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to over 17 years in prison for stabbing detention center guard

News

Kitty Hawk trail connector a team effort

News

Former North Carolina Rep. Melanie Goodwin remembered as a trailblazer

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 10 years in prison for ammunition charge

Business

COA receives donation from Paul Mann Custom Boats, Inc.

Business

Willie Mae Overton celebrated for 60 years with Elizabeth City hospital

Lifestyles

Dare County holding back to school COVID-19 vaccine clinics

Lifestyles

Christmas in July event coming to Kill Devil Hills

News

Dare County update on COVID-19

Crime

NC court rules magistrate can be sued for damages over misdirected commitment paperwork

News

Bodies of two missing men from reported helicopter crash recovered

News

Coast Guard suspends search for missing men from reported helicopter crash

News

Willets on the water’s edge

Crime

Suspect in North Carolina shooting charged with murder after victim dies

Lifestyles

Auditions set for The Lost Colony’s Virginia Dare baby role

News

Kill Devil Hills recognizes members of community for years of service

News

Dare Planning Board uses new rules

News

North Carolina jobless rate falls for ninth straight month

Crime

North Carolina man charged with murder in woman’s shooting death

News

Helicopter crash reported in Albemarle Sound, search is on for two people

News

Dare Task Force for NC 12 not meeting Wednesday

News

Dare OPEB trust meeting set