‘Summit on School Safety’ set for March at Cape Fear Community College

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Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo was among area officials who spoke about the upcoming ‘Summit on School Safety,’ planned for March 12. Photo by Christina Haley.

In response to the nation’s most recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a group of education, government and law enforcement officials gathered Thursday at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to announce the formation of the “Summit on School Safety,” planned for March 12.

According to District Attorney Ben David, the goal of the summit is to look into the issue of school safety, look at available resources and provide long-term solutions to school safety.

“We will ultimately be measured by whether we protected our children. And why this whole community response I know will be a success is because to a person, every one of us understands that our children’s safety comes first,” David said.

At the summit, national and area leaders will join law enforcement, school officials and allied health professionals in a workshop to address the best way to guard schools against future violence or tragedies.

New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Tim Markley addressed some current community responses already in place, such as the Blue Ribbon Commission, school safety plans and School Resource Officers (SROs).

Markley said he hoped the summit would establish “a coordinated approach to what we’re doing.

“But we as a community have to make decisions about resources coming forward. I’m hoping that a school safety summit can help guide us in those decision-making processes related to those resources,” Markley said.

Cape Fear Community College President Dr. Ted Spring mentioned the college’s recent approval of a campus-wide police department and law enforcement training programs.

Other local officials who attended the announcement included Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Chancellor Gary Miller, Pender County Board of Commissioners Chairman George Brown and Chief District Judge J.H. Corpening.

The Summit on School Safety will be from 8 a.m. until noon Tuesday, March 12, at the downtown campus of Cape Fear Community College. The event is by invitation only and the first hour will be open to the media.