The chairs of the House Select Committee on School Safety announced, on Wednesday, the two public working groups of the committee, charged with studying student mental health and physical security policies beginning this month.
The formation of the groups is intended to help members focus on specific proposals and produce stronger recommendations to deliver to the full General Assembly, according to the committee’s co-chairs, Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett).
“These working groups will continue to educate members while facilitating their feedback in a robust discussion about school safety needs in North Carolina,” Lewis said.
Rep. Josh Dobson (R-Avery) has been named chairman of the Student Health Working Group, while House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) has been named chairman of the Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group.
Lewis and Torbett will continue to supervise both working groups.
“School safety is a pressing issue for students and educators and this committee will continue to take an innovative approach to finding solutions to keep them secure,” Torbett said. “After a comprehensive first committee meeting, our members are prepared to move forward with an intense focus on both student health and physical security issues.”
The working group meetings are not closed meetings and will be open to the press as well as the public.
The working groups have each been directed to meet twice before the short session begins in mid-May and to deliver proposals and idea to the full committee for discussion.
The Student Health Working Group will focus on student access to tip-lines, school counselors, nurses and psychologists, as well as delving into methods to improve student social integration.
The Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group will focus on school resource officer training, funding and availability, security for charter and non-public schools, building design, as well as access to security resources and increasing and improving the coordination between local education, law enforcement and emergency services.
The committee will also be directed to examine necessary criminal law changes to improve school safety.
“The school safety committee is off to a great start and I’m encouraged the chairs have progressed to focus on specific needs and proposals to protect North Carolina students and teachers,” House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said.
The House formed the committee in February following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 15 students and two faculty dead.
The Student Health Working Group will hold its first meeting Monday, April 9 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and again on Monday, April 23 at 9:00 a.m. in that same room.
The Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group will meet Tuesday, April 17 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 643, LOB, and again on Thursday, May 3 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 544, LOB.
A meeting of the full state committee is planned for Thursday, May 10, 2018, a time for which is not determined yet.
Working Group Membership for House Select Committee on School Safety:
Student Health Working Group:
Chairman Rep. David Lewis
Chairman: Rep. John Torbett
Chairman: Rep. Josh Dobson
Vice Chair: Rep. Marvin Lucas Rep.
Members: MaryAnn Black, Rep. Becky Carney, Rep. Jimmy Dixon, Rep. Nelson Dollar, Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, Rep. Elmer Floyd, Rep. Rosa Gill, Rep. Charles Graham, Rep. Jon Hardister, Rep. Pricey Harrison, Rep. Kelly Hastings, Rep. Craig Horn, Rep. Pat Hurley, Rep. Verla Insko, Rep. Darren Jackson, Rep. Donny Lambeth, Rep. Chris Malone, Rep. Bobbie Richardson, Rep. Michael Speciale, Rep. Sarah Stevens, Rep. Donna White
Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group:
Chairman: Rep. David Lewis
Chairman: Rep. John Torbett
Chairman: Rep. John Bell
Vice Chair: Rep. Garland Pierce
Members: Rep. Larry Bell, Rep. James Boles, Rep. William Brawley, Rep. Dana Bumgardner, Rep. Justin Burr, Rep. Carla Cunningham, Rep. Ted Davis, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, Rep. Susan Fisher, Rep. John Faircloth, Rep. Holly Grange, Rep. Cody Henson, Rep. Yvonne Holley, Rep. Frank Iler, Rep. Linda Johnson, Rep. Brenden Jones, Rep. Allen McNeill, Rep. Rodney Moore, Rep. Stephen Ross, Rep. Jason Saine, Rep. Larry Strickland, Rep. Harry Warren