School safety, mental health bills get legislative support

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House has advanced legislation designed to improve school safety from both outside the school building and from within.

The House overwhelmingly gave initial approval on Wednesday to a wide-ranging measure piggybacking on safety improvements approved by legislators last year following the Florida school shootings.

The bill would require threat assessment teams assigned to each public school to assess risks for students and staff and intervene when necessary. Student-to-student counseling programs also would be required in all middle and high schools. And school police “resource” officers would have to meet minimum training standards with the 2020-21 school year.

The House also gave its final approval to separate measures directing agencies to recommend a mental health screening process for school children and to require student instruction on civic responsibility.

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