RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)–Safety in school is top of mind for many parents, after 19 students and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Linley Bodnarchuk said she started crying after dropping her kindergartener off at school today.
“I left; I just started crying, and I waved at the teachers and I’m like please be safe and thank you,” she said.
She spent the day looking into her own son’s safety at school, including emailing the school board to ask why her son’s school doesn’t have a security officer.
“I don’t know if that’s the right answer or not, but I’m willing to fight for finding a solution,” she said.
Last November, a national group called the School Safety Advocacy Council released their security assessment for the Wake County Public School System. The council spoke to teachers and assessed every Wake County school facility.
Last week, the school board received an update from the council and school security leaders on seven focus areas listed below:
- 1. Prioritization of Recommendations from the Assessment Process
- 2. Visitor Management
- 3. School Resource Officer Leadership Operations Committee
- 4. Update District Emergency Plan
- 5. Training/School Safety Professional Development Plan and Delivery
- 6. Mental Health Threat Assessment Team Formation
- 7. District Reunification (uniting students with parents after an evacuation)
The council said it’s working on a standardized plan for school visitors. Updates to the district’s emergency plan addresses everything from the death of a teacher to a bomb threat.
A committee made up of school resources officers from all participating law enforcement agencies has been formed and met for the first time last month. The SRO Operations Committee was one of the recommendations in the safety assessment.
“During the assessment, process, our team members continually received praise and support for the district’s School Resource Officer Program,” the report said. “However, due to the fact that there were several law enforcement agencies participating in this, the selection, training, and supervision of the SRO’s was not always consistent, and our team felt it could be improved upon.”
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office did an active shooter drill in September. Sheriff Gerald Baker said his deputies are in 21 middle schools and two deputies are at East Wake High School.
“I just had a conversation this morning looking at what we’re going to do in terms of if there becomes a need for our office to really try to keep up with the elementary schools, how we’re going to do that by moving some other resources and manpower around to do that if it became necessary,” Baker said.
The safety council is also talking with the district about a Mental Health Threat Assessment Team, saying open lines of communication between students and adults is important to preventing tragedies. The work will continue into next school year.