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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

New Hanover County survey shows concerns over school safety, bullying, and emergency communications

New Hanover County

The survey results showed concerns about some schools being less safe than others, the effectiveness of reporting problems, bullying being taken seriously, and difficulty in finding information during emergencies.

From Oct 18, 2021 until Nov 1, 2021, New Hanover County surveyed residents about school and community safety and communication issues. The survey was promoted in a variety of ways, including on social media, online and in videos. The survey was available in both English and Spanish. The survey received a total of 2,240 responses which represents roughly 1% of the total population of New Hanover County.

Around 80 percent of those who were surveyed answered they were a parent or guardian. Race was also taken into account: 70% responded as white, 18% responded “prefer not to say,” and 6% responded as Black or African American. According to the survey, the 2020 Decennial Census reported the racial breakdown of New Hanover County is 74% white, 12% Black or African American, 8 percent are Hispanic or Latino and another 6% are 'other minority.'

The survey data shows a majority of people, 80.18%, feel safe in their neighborhood. When it comes to reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement, 72% of respondents feel comfortable.

However, only 50% of Black and African American respondents and 48% of Hispanic and Latino respondents feel comfortable. And breaking it down by age, only 50% of respondents under 25 and those who chose “Prefer not to say” feel comfortable.

In the case of school officials, 67% feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity. However, when it comes to trusting corrective action will be taken, it’s split almost evenly in thirds: 31.52% of people agree, 30% are neutral, and a slight majority of 37.6% of people disagree.

Sixty-five percent of people, regardless of race, believe bullying is a problem in New Hanover County schools, but only 17 percent of them think reports about bullying are adequately addressed and responded to by school administration. In a racial breakdown, Black and African Americans make up the majority of those who don’t believe bullying is properly addressed, at 78 percent.

Another issue expressed through the survey was communication — especially in an emergency. Roughly 40% responded that they knew how to find or receive crucial information related to a school emergency — but 34% said they didn't.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY and graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Her story focus revolves her deep care for children, young adults and mental health. You can reach her at cmojica@whqr.org.