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Originally published: 2013-04-09 12:10:06
Last modified: 2013-04-09 12:10:05

WHS to host school safety forum

Staff of the newly formed N.C. Center for Safer Schools will visit Watauga County on April 17 to hear from the community about ways to improve security of schools.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced the creation of the new center March 19 and charged the staff with developing strategies for protecting children, teachers and staff.

The center will help schools assess site safety issues, work with communities experiencing unacceptable levels of school and youth violence and provide presentations on emerging trends in school violence.

Boone is one of eight communities chosen to be part of a statewide tour by N.C. Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan and other leaders as they seek input.

The forum will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 17 at Watauga High School's Ross Auditorium.

"The safer schools forums give me and my team in the Center for Safer Schools an opportunity to learn what tools are needed and assess ways that we can help prevent and respond to school safety concerns that may be unique to individual communities," Shanahan said.

Following brief presentations by state officials, the public will be invited to make comments or ask questions related to school safety. Those who are unable to attend also may send written comments to (

McCrory probably will not attend the Boone event because of other commitments, said spokeswoman Kim Genardo.

Watauga County Commissioner David Blust, who is involved in coordinating the visit, said the officials also plan to visit Parkway School around 2 p.m. before a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders such as elected officials and law enforcement at 4 p.m. at Watauga High School.

"They know the answers are not in Raleigh," Blust said. "The answers are in each individual school district."