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New Hanover County to hold online public forums on 'community violence' next week

New Hanover County

The "webinar-style Zoom events" will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Participants will be able to ask questions of panelists representing law enforcement, the schools, and the non-profit sector.

The one-hour sessions are being held as part of ongoing conversations about "violence in our community and safety within our schools." according to the county.

It's not a new issue, but received new attention after a shooting at New Hanover High School in late August. In the wake of that incident, which saw one student arrested and another hospitalized, county commissioners and school board members held a joint meeting; towards the end of that meeting, Chair Julia Olson-Boseman made an unplanned motion to address the issue of 'community violence' by tapping into some — not all, she stressed — of the $350 million in cash-on-hand funds received during the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant.

The plan initially authorized County Manager Chris Coudriet to take action with an unprecedented lack of financial oversight — something commissioners, including Jonathan Barfield, Jr. and Rob Zabble, would later reign in during a subsequent meeting.

Currently, commissioners are waiting to hear a formal budget amendment proposal from Coudriet before authorizing spending on the issue; there is an 'update' on the issue scheduled for the commissioners' November 15 meeting — but no formal spending is up for a vote.

Info on the meetings

  • Let’s Talk: Community Violence Forum – November 15 at 6 p.m.

The first virtual public forum, “Let’s Talk: Community Violence,” will start at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 15. The panel will feature local law enforcement, community groups and parents as they discuss issues taking place around New Hanover County that are leading to and are a direct result of violence within the community. Attendees will then be able to ask questions and share feedback via the chat. Click here on November 15 to attend the Community Violence Forum on Zoom.

  • Let’s Talk: School Safety Forum – November 17 at 6 p.m.

The second virtual public forum, “Let’s Talk: School Safety,” will start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17. The panel will feature representatives from New Hanover County Schools’ Central Services, school administration and parents. The discussion will center around how issues that start in a community impact the school environment, and how to help ensure safety on school campuses. After the panel discussion, attendees will be able to ask questions and share feedback via the chat. Click here on November 17 to attend the School Safety Forum on Zoom.

If you are not able to attend the discussion live, each “Let’s Talk” forum will be recorded and posted on the New Hanover County YouTube channel, added to nhcgov.com/schoolsafety and shared on the county’s social media platforms the following day after each event.