AP NEWS

The Latest: Experts give school safety recommendations

March 21, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina House committee studying school safety (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

North Carolina House leaders say they’re ready to listen to experts, educators and children about what can be done to prevent and combat school violence. Those lawmakers already have gotten suggestions at Wednesday’s first meeting of a school safety committee.

Committee speakers say there isn’t enough personnel and structure to provide mental health services for at-risk students. Jim Deni with the North Carolina School Psychology Association says it’s thus very easy for a student to fall through the cracks. He says there should be one school psychologist per 700 students, but today the ratio is one to 2,100 students.

Legislators on Wednesday also asked about expanding an electronic-based anonymous tip line that now covers a handful of counties. They also asked about making it easier for rural areas to access state funds to hire law enforcement officers in schools.

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3 a.m.

North Carolina legislators are sitting down to get information about student safety in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting before recommending later this spring what changes their colleagues should support.

The House Select Committee on School Safety holds its first meeting Wednesday. There they are supposed to hear from the state Division of Emergency Management, State Bureau of Investigation and leaders of the state’s task force on safe schools.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore organized the committee, which while bipartisan in membership has a GOP majority.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and some Democratic lawmakers already have offered ideas, which include raising the age to purchase assault-style weapons to 21 and require background checks for those guns. Republicans will be more skeptical about efforts to restrict lawful gun access.