North Carolina Bill Needs One Final Vote Before Heading to Governor

North Carolina Bill Needs One Final Vote Before Heading to Governor

A statewide North Carolina school safety bill passed the House unanimously earlier this week. It needs one more vote from the Senate before it heads to Gov. Roy Cooper.

A North Carolina bill with the intention of making schools safer passed the House unanimously earlier this week. It is now one vote away from going to Gov. Roy Cooper.

Rep. Donna White, R-Johnston, was the sponsor of the bill. She has been working on it since 2013, when she served on the Johnston County Board of Education and she spoke about how to prevent mass school shootings alongside psychologists, physicians, teachers and law enforcement officers.

"It's almost tear-jerking for me," White said. "I've only been a legislator for two-and-a-half years, but for six years, I've worked on this initiative."

The bill not only focuses on physical health, but also places a strong emphasis on mental health, as that can often be the root of the cause of school shootings.

"There are issues of mental health ... issues of stress and emotional breakdown of children because of our society, and then there's the issue of actual parameters of the school needs to be safe," White said.

According to WRAL, the bill would include statewide funding for an app that lets students report potential threats anonymously, as well as a new digital panic alarm system to be installed in schools. It requires mandatory, standardized training for school resource officers in crisis response and de-escalation and also requires school districts to put together threat assessment teams and conduct emergency drills.

"It has just really put North Carolina on the map for being a state that has not waited for that ultimate Parkland or Columbine or Sandy Hook," White said, name-checking three locales where major school shootings have occurred in the last 20 years. "Not to say that won't happen – we can't control what happens – but we're ready. We're prepared."

After a final vote in the Senate, the bill can head to the governor.

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.