State House forms school safety, violence prevention panel

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RALEIGH — N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore has named 41 legislators to a committee formed to evaluate school security measures in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Moore, R-Cleveland, announced the creation of the House Select Committee on School Safety during a Tuesday news conference in Shelby, the seat of his home county.

“As parents, our highest priority is keeping our children safe,” Moore said in a statement. “It starts with building safer schools in the capital construction phase and maintaining secure education facilities every day across North Carolina. It is our duty to provide the highest level of physical security for our kids’ classrooms through access control, surveillance and training.”

The school safety panel will seek input on securing public education facilities. Moore chose to form the committee following a Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty members and injured an additional 12 victims.

House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston, were appointed co-chairmen. Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, was named vice chairman.

“I am grateful for the speaker’s appointment to this vital committee,” Lewis said in a prepared statement. “We need a comprehensive approach that looks at the whole problem of school safety, from security to mental health. Our parents and children deserve state leaders that will give serious attention to this issue, and that’s exactly what we will do.”

Among the 41 committee members are Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne, Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, and Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg.

The House speaker said members “represent a range of experience in education, law enforcement and mental health policy” and that the panel will seek input from local governments, school systems and researchers “to address violence prevention, emergency management and security in North Carolina classrooms.”