THE TASK FORCE ON SAFER SCHOOLS

The Task Force provides guidance to the Center for Safer Schools and considers future policy and legislative changes needed to improve school safety in North Carolina. This group that ranges from students and teachers to elected officials, lawyers and law enforcement from across North Carolina. The members, listed below, will serve two-year terms. Members of the Task Force serve on one of four standing sub-committees, along with other knowledgeable individuals from across the state. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Task Force, along with the Chairs of each sub-committee make up an Executive Committee of the Task Force. The four sub-committees are:

  • School Climate and Discipline. Feeling safe at school not only encompasses physical safety, but social and emotional safety as well. This committee looks at how schools create positive school climates where students feel safe, have positive relationships and where high academic achievement is the norm. Creating these positive, safe school climates requires fostering positive behavior; establishing norms and values that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe; and minimizing threats of bullying and violence.

  • Mental Health and Special Needs of Students. The Center for Safer Schools is taking a holistic approach toward addressing school safety. Most human-caused safety concerns such as shootings, bomb threats, fights/riots and other forms of violence are caused by members of the school population rather than unknown external threats. For this reason, the Governor’s Task Force on Safer Schools and the N.C. Center for Safer Schools takes an in-depth look at how schools and communities can address the mental health needs of their students and staff to prevent school related violent incidents.

  • Physical Security and Emergency Preparedness. Schools are soft targets because of their openness to the public, but with a few often inexpensive modifications, schools can make their environments a harder target. Low-cost security measures for school facilities should be implemented by all schools, including those that highlight the concepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Some of these measures include access control, natural and formal surveillance and having well-defined school boundaries. School faculty and staff, law enforcement, dispatch personnel, first responders and emergency managers should be provided with up-to-date training and tools to assist with response to natural hazards, man-made hazards and threats on school property and students and faculty.

  • Substance Abuse and Gang Intervention. A fourth subcommittee to review the issues of substance abuse, underage alcohol consumption and gang involvement in schools was established at the June 2015 Task Force meeting. This group investigates issues surrounding substance abuse, underage drinking and gangs both as separate and interrelated areas.