Representatives from school districts around the state gathered in New Bern Thursday to meet with local and state law enforcement to discuss how to make schools safer in light of recent violence highlighted in headlines around the country.
Chip Hughes, the Chairman of the Governors Task Force on Safer Schools, has toured more than 20 schools around the state, including Jones Senior High School this month.
Hughes says they are talking about increasing the security of school buildings and parking lots, but the recurring issue discussed on these tours and at Thursday's meeting is catching the early stages of mental health issues among students. Hughes says, "For many years that has not been something that we have recognized, and I'm telling you now that we are recognizing it. It is a problem and we're going to deal with it an we're going to put a lot of training in place. The Center for Safer Schools and Public Instruction are going to be able to offer this training to our teachers faculty and staff."
Hughes plans to hand over a report on top school security concerns to the governor next month.