NC House Prioritizes School Safety

New school safety reforms advancing peer-to-peer student support programs, facility vulnerability assessments, and resource officer training programs unanimously passed the North Carolina House of Representatives on Monday.

House Bill 938 Various School Safety Changes contains recommendations of the state House Select Committee on School Safety to improve classroom security and protect students.

All schools with grades six or higher, and in other grades as appropriate, would coordinate and provide training for peer-to-peer student support programs under the proposal.

The bill also requires the Center for Safer Schools to develop facility vulnerability assessments in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Public Safety.

The school vulnerability assessments would be integrated with the School Risk and Response Management System (SRRMS) as part of a School Risk Management Plan (SRMP). Local school systems would be required to apply the tool to each school building annually.

H.B. 938 also expands school resource offer (SRO) training and continuing education programs. The training standards would be required to include diversity and equity, tactical, and mental health training.

It also requires all public schools, including charter, regional, laboratory, and innovative schools, as well as the Schools for the Deaf, the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the School of Science and Mathematics, and the School of the Arts, to meet all the school safety requirements that apply to traditional public schools.

Those requirements include the adoption of SRMPs, annual school-wide tabletop drills and exercises, and the provision of school schematic diagrams to local law enforcement and the Division of Emergency Management.

The state budget included $35 million for school safety initiatives and the NC House recently passed a recommendation of the state House Select Committee on School Safety to expand student access to licensed psychologists.

“These additional measures to strengthen school security in North Carolina maintain our comprehensive approach to protecting students in classrooms every day,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).