State lawmakers talk school safety arming teachers

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County School Board brought lawmakers together Thursday afternoon to discuss improving school safety.“School safety is of upmost importance,” Rep. Holly Grange said.- Advertisement – “The state should take a serious look at assisting and providing the necessary funding so we can have counselors in the schools,” Rep. Ted Davis said.Those were the highlights, and goals, set for the upcoming year during the New Hanover County School Board Legislative Luncheon.“The Florida tragedy may not have happened if some of those red flags had been noticed,” Grange said.Related Article: North Carolina schools get $22M in safety grantsThe event gave local and state leaders the chance to not only talk with school leaders, but also sit down with teachers and hear their concerns. One of which is whether to arm school staff.“Teachers should be focusing on educating kids what they’re there for. They don’t need to be policing the schools and carrying firearms,” Sen. Michael Lee said.“I’m not a proponent of teachers having firearms,” Davis said. “I don’t think that’s the right way to go.”“If we’ve got SRO’s in our school and we’ve got good procedures in place then that’s not something that needs to take place,” New Hanover County Superintendent, Tim Markley said.“If a teacher was armed I would want them to be trained very vigorously,” Grange said. “Rigorous training with local law enforcement.”Rep. Deb Butler sent WWAY the following statement:“I honestly can’t believe that we are even discussing the notion of arming teachers. Teachers want to teach. There is a laundry list of sensible actions to take such that would improve school safety such as banning military grade weapons, increasing background checks for gun purchases, installation of metal detectors, and more school resource officers and counselors who are trained to spot the warning signs of troubled children. These are things we should implement now,” Butler wrote.As for adding extra security, lawmakers across the board believe there are several options.“Law enforcement. Perhaps retired military can fulfill some of those roles and let teachers concentrate on teaching,” Grange said.“When we build new schools now there are added safety features. We’ve added cameras. There are press-in alarms at almost all of our schools. Mental health workers, councilors, more councilors at our schools we think are critical. We’d love to see more parent groups at our school like watchdogs and those kinds of programs,” Markley said.Representatives Davis and Grange are on the House School Safety Committee created to examine safety standards and recommend changes.They both are taking what they learned today to the committee’s first meeting March 21.last_img

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