JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper called for officials to invest more in school safety. This is following two shootings that occurred within just three days in North Carolina.
“We all grew up doing fire drills and tornado drills and things like that, and unfortunately we now have a society where people have to deal with issues of an active shooter,” said Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck.
Buck emphasized how important it is to speak up if you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues.
“You know if somebody is in crisis and they feel like they can’t deal with certain things, reach out and ask somebody for help. Call someone in law enforcement, call the 911 center … we’re going to work to get them put in touch with the right people who can help them,” Buck said.
Director of Security and Safety for Onslow County Schools, Dusty Rhodes, also stressed the importance of mental health in youth.
“Coming through a pandemic this past year, mental health is even more important, and it’s important for the community and the parents to be talking to students all the time and letting them know it’s OK to not be OK,” said Rhodes.
President of PVF Security, Patrick Fiel, said he worries this issue will be ongoing if we don’t quickly act with serious measures.
“When a student can just arbitrarily walk into a school with a weapon, I am very concerned that we need to address that issue immediately, try to figure out a strategy to prevent it from further going,” said Fiel.
Buck said law enforcement teams are constantly working together and participating in periodic training to ensure they can respond to an event in the most efficient way possible.
Cooper said it’s now time to invest more in the people inside the buildings. He recommends strengthened efforts in early childhood education and mental health services.