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New Hanover County School Safety Summit Stresses Importance of Community Collaboration

Hannah Breisinger
Tuesday's summit was held at Snipes Academy of Arts & Design.

School safety is a collaborative effort. That was the biggest takeaway from a safety summit held by New Hanover County Schools this week. The event featured panel members from specialized areas, including local law enforcement, the county health department, and student support -- to emphasize the importance of county, faculty, and parent involvement in student well-being.

"I am the parent of a seven-year-old, and the world has gotten pretty scary. So every day when he walks out that door, there's that pit in your stomach, that you feel that, is he going to come home?”

That’s County School Board Member Stefanie Adams, opening up Tuesday’s summit. Event panelists used the opportunity to announce new safety improvements, such as providing schools with police officers and additional nurses, implementing an anonymous reporting system, and conducting a risk vulnerability assessment.  

But one of the hot topics? What parents can do to improve the emotional and physical safety of their children. For County Schools Safety Director Dave Spencer -- that answer is simple.

“Talk to and with your kids. Don't ask questions unless you're willing to accept the answers you might get. You might get some answers that shock you… But if you see something or suspect something, please say something. And a lot of that is going to come from your kids.”

For information on crisis management plans, back to school safety tips, and lockdown safety, visit https://www.nhcs.net/divisions/student-support-services/safety-and-crisis-management.

Hannah is WHQR's All Things Considered host, and also reports on science, the environment, and climate change. She enjoys loud music, documentaries, and stargazing; and is the proud mother of three cats, a dog, and many, many houseplants. Contact her via email at hbreisinger@whqr.org, or on Twitter @hbreisinger.