GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2013

H                                                                                                                                                   2

HOUSE BILL 452

Committee Substitute Favorable 4/10/13

 

Short Title:        2013 School Safety Act.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

March 28, 2013

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT CRITICAL SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURES.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

part i.  school resource officers in elementary and middle schools

SECTION 1.  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the 2013‑2014 fiscal year and the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the 2014‑2015 fiscal year to provide grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools for school resource officers in elementary and middle schools. These funds shall be matched on the basis of two dollars ($2.00) in State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in local funds and shall be used to supplement and not to supplant State, local, and federal funds for school resource officers.

The State Board of Education shall include need‑based considerations in its criteria for awarding these grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools. The State Board shall also give lower priority to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools that have received a grant for additional school psychologists, school counselors, and social workers pursuant to Section 2 of this act.

Local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools may use these funds to employ school resource officers in elementary and middle schools, to train them, or both. Any such training shall include instruction on research into the social and cognitive development of elementary school and middle school children.

 

part ii.  school psychologists, school counselors, and social workers

SECTION 2.(a)  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) for the 2013‑2014 fiscal year and the sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) for the 2014‑2015 fiscal year to provide grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools for additional school psychologists, school counselors, and social workers. These funds shall be matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in local funds and shall be used to supplement and not to supplant State, local, and federal funds expended for school psychologists, school counselors, and social workers.

The State Board of Education shall include need‑based considerations in its criteria for awarding these grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools. The State Board shall also give lower priority to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools that have received a grant for school resource officers pursuant to Section 1 of this act.

SECTION 2.(b)  Article 21 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑316.1.  Duties of school counselors.

(a)        School counselors shall implement a comprehensive developmental school counseling program in their schools. Counselors shall spend at least eighty percent (80%) of their work time providing direct services to students. Direct services do not include the coordination of standardized testing. Direct services shall consist of:

(1)        Delivering the school guidance curriculum through large‑group guidance, interdisciplinary curriculum development, group activities, and parent workshops;

(2)        Guiding individual student planning through individual or small‑group assistance and individual or small‑group advisement;

(3)        Providing responsive services through consultation with students, families, and staff; individual and small‑group counseling; crisis counseling; referrals; and peer facilitation; and

(4)        Performing other student services listed in the Department of Public Instruction school counselor job description that has been approved by the State Board of Education.

(b)        During the remainder of their work time, counselors shall spend adequate time on school counseling program support activities that consist of professional development; consultation, collaboration, and training; and program management and operations. School counseling program support activities do not include the coordination of standardized testing. However, school counselors may assist other staff with the coordination of standardized testing."

SECTION 2.(c)  Prior to the 2013‑2014 school year, each local board of education shall develop a transition plan for implementing subsection (b) of this section within existing resources by reassigning duties within its schools.

The State Board of Education shall distribute guidelines to all local school administrative units on the implementation of subsection (b) of this section.

 

part iii. panic alarm systems

SECTION 3.(a)  G.S. 115C‑47(40) reads as rewritten:

"(40)    To adopt emergency response plans. Local boards of education mayshall, in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, adopt emergency response plans relating to incidents of school violence. These plans are not a public record as the term "public record" is defined under G.S. 132‑1 and shall not be subject to inspection and examination under G.S. 132‑6."

SECTION 3.(b)  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for the 2013‑2014 fiscal year and the sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for the 2014‑2015 fiscal year to provide grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools for panic alarm systems in schools. These funds shall be matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in local funds and shall be used to supplement and not to supplant State, local, and federal funds for panic alarm systems.

The State Board of Education shall include need‑based considerations in its criteria for awarding these grants to local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools.

SECTION 3.(c)  Effective July 1, 2015, every public school shall have a panic alarm system that connects with the nearest local law enforcement agency in the local board of education's emergency response plan.

 

part iv.  school safety exercises

SECTION 4.  Article 8C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑105.49.  School safety exercises.

(a)        At least every two years each local school administrative unit shall hold a full systemwide school safety and school lockdown exercise with the local law enforcement agencies that are part of the local board of education's emergency response plan. The purpose of the exercise shall be to permit participants to (i) discuss simulated emergency situations in a low‑stress environment, (ii) clarify their roles and responsibilities and the overall logistics of dealing with an emergency, and (iii) identify areas in which the emergency response plan needs to be modified.

(b)        At least once a year each school shall hold a full school‑wide school safety and lockdown exercise with the local law enforcement agencies that are part of the local board of education's emergency response plan."

 

part v.  Schematic diagrams of school facilities

SECTION 5.  Article 8C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑105.50.  Schematic diagram of school facilities.

(a)        Each local school administrative unit shall prepare schematic diagrams of its school facilities and provide (i) the schematic diagrams and (ii) keys to the main entrance of all school facilities to local law enforcement agencies. Each local school administrative unit shall provide updates of the schematic diagrams to local law enforcement agencies when substantial modifications such as new facilities or modifications to doors and windows are made to school facilities.

(b)        The Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, shall develop standards and guidelines for the preparation and content of schematic diagrams and necessary updates.

(c)        The schematic diagrams are not public records under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes."

 

part vi.  anonymous tip line

SECTION 6.  Article 8C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑105.51.  Anonymous tip lines.

(a)        Each local school administrative unit shall develop and operate an anonymous tip line, in coordination with local law enforcement and social services agencies, to receive anonymous information on internal or external risks to school buildings and school‑related activities.

(b)        The Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, shall develop standards and guidelines for the development, operation, and staffing of tip lines.

(c)        The Department of Public Instruction shall provide information to local school administrative units on federal, State, local, and private grants available for this purpose."

 

part vii.  school safety component of school improvement plans

SECTION 7.(a)  G.S. 115C‑105.27 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑105.27.  Development and approval of school improvement plans.

(a)        School Improvement Team. In order to improve student performance, each school shall develop a school improvement plan that takes into consideration the annual performance goal for that school that is set by the State Board under G.S. 115C‑105.35 and the goals set out in the mission statement for the public schools adopted by the State Board of Education. The principal of each school, representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building, and parents of children enrolled in the school shall constitute a school improvement team to team. The team shall develop a school improvement plan to improve student performance.

Representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants shall be elected by their respective groups by secret ballot.

Unless the local board of education has adopted an election policy, parents shall be elected by parents of children enrolled in the school in an election conducted by the parent and teacher organization of the school or, if none exists, by the largest organization of parents formed for this purpose. Parents serving on school improvement teams shall reflect the racial and socioeconomic composition of the students enrolled in that school and shall not be members of the building‑level staff.

Parental involvement is a critical component of school success and positive student achievement; therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly that parents, along with teachers, have a substantial role in developing school improvement plans. To this end, school improvement team meetings shall be held at a convenient time to assure substantial parent participation.

All school improvement plans shall be, to the greatest extent possible, data‑driven. School improvement teams shall use the Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) or a compatible and comparable system approved by the State Board of Education, to analyze student data to identify root causes for problems, to determine actions to address them, and to appropriately place students in courses such as Algebra I. School improvement plans shall contain clear, unambiguous targets, explicit indicators and actual measures, and expeditious time frames for meeting the measurement standards.

(a1)      Open Meetings. School improvement team meetings are subject to the open meetings requirements of Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. Deliberations on the school safety components of the plan shall be in closed session in accordance with G.S. 143‑318.11(a)(8). The principal shall ensure that these requirements are met.

(a2)      Public Records. The school improvement plan, except for the school safety components of the plan, is a public record subject to Chapter 132 of the General Statutes and shall be posted on the school Web site. The names of the members of the school improvement team, their positions, and the date of their election to the school improvement team shall also be posted on the Web site.

The school safety components of the plan are not public records subject to Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(b)        School Improvement Plan. In order to improve student performance, the school improvement team at each school shall develop a school improvement plan that takes into consideration the annual performance goal for that school that is set by the State Board under G.S. 115C105.35 and the goals set out in the mission statement for the public schools adopted by the State Board of Education. All school improvement plans shall be, to the greatest extent possible, data-driven. School improvement teams shall use the Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) or a compatible and comparable system approved by the State Board of Education to (i) analyze student data and identify root causes for problems, (ii) determine actions to address them, and (iii) appropriately place students in courses such as Algebra I. School improvement plans shall contain clear, unambiguous targets, explicit indicators and actual measures, and expeditious time frames for meeting the measurement standards.

The strategies for improving student performance:

(1)        Shall include a plan for the use of staff development funds that may be made available to the school by the local board of education to implement the school improvement plan. The plan may provide that a portion of these funds is used for mentor training and for release time and substitute teachers while mentors and teachers mentored are meeting;

(1a)      Repealed by Session Laws 2012‑142, s. 7A.1(c), effective July 2, 2012.

(2)        Shall include a plan to address school safety and discipline concerns;

(3)        May include a decision to use State funds in accordance with G.S. 115C‑105.25;

(4)        Shall include a plan that specifies the effective instructional practices and methods to be used to improve the academic performance of students identified as at risk of academic failure or at risk of dropping out of school;

(5)        May include requests for waivers of State laws, rules, or policies for that school. A request for a waiver shall meet the requirements of G.S. 115C‑105.26;

(6)        Shall include a plan to provide a duty‑free lunch period for every teacher on a daily basis or as otherwise approved by the school improvement team; and

(7)        Shall include a plan to provide duty‑free instructional planning time for every teacher under G.S. 115C‑301.1, with the goal of providing an average of at least five hours of planning time per week.

(c)        School Vote on the Plan. Support among affected staff members is essential to successful implementation of a school improvement plan to address improved student performance at that school. The principal of the school shall present the proposed school improvement plan to all of the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for their review and vote. The vote shall be by secret ballot. The principal shall submit the school improvement plan to the local board of education only if the proposed school improvement plan has the approval of a majority of the staff who voted on the plan.

(c1)      Consideration of the School Safety Components of the Plan. The superintendent shall review the school safety components of the school improvement plans and make written recommendations on them to the local board of education. Prior to a vote to accept a school's improvement plan in accordance with G.S. 115C‑105.25(d), the local board of education shall review the school safety components of the plan for that school in closed session. The board shall make findings on the safety components of the plan. Neither the safety components of the plan nor the board's findings on the safety components of the plan shall be set out in the minutes of the board.

(d)        Adoption of the Plan. The local board of education shall accept or reject the school improvement plan. The local board shall not make any substantive changes in any school improvement plan that it accepts. If the local board rejects a school improvement plan, the local board shall state with specificity its reasons for rejecting the plan; the school improvement team may then prepare another plan, present it to the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for a vote, and submit it to the local board to accept or reject. If no school improvement plan is accepted for a school within 60 days after its initial submission to the local board, the school or the local board may ask to use the process to resolve disagreements recommended in the guidelines developed by the State Board under G.S. 115C‑105.20(b)(5). If this request is made, both the school and local board shall participate in the process to resolve disagreements. If there is no request to use that process, then the local board may develop a school improvement plan for the school. The General Assembly urges the local board to utilize the school's proposed school improvement plan to the maximum extent possible when developing such a plan.

(e)        Effective Period of the Plan. A school improvement plan shall remain in effect for no more than two years; however, the school improvement team may amend the plan as often as is necessary or appropriate. If, at any time, any part of a school improvement plan becomes unlawful or the local board finds that a school improvement plan is impeding student performance at a school, the local board may vacate the relevant portion of the plan and may direct the school to revise that portion. The procedures set out in this subsection shall apply to amendments and revisions to school improvement plans.

(f)         Elimination of Other Unnecessary Plans. If a local board of education finds that a school improvement plan adequately covers another plan that the local school administrative unit is otherwise required to prepare, the local school administrative unit shall not be required to prepare an additional plan on the matter.

(g)        Compliance With Requirements. Any employee, parent, or other interested individual or organization is encouraged to notify the principal of any concerns regarding compliance with this section. In addition, any employee, parent, or other interested individual or organization may submit in writing to the superintendent concerns regarding compliance with this section. The superintendent shall make a good-faith effort to investigate the concern. The superintendent shall upon request provide a written response to the concern."

SECTION 7.(b)  G.S. 143‑318.11(a)(8) reads as rewritten:

"(a)       Permitted Purposes. It is the policy of this State that closed sessions shall be held only when required to permit a public body to act in the public interest as permitted in this section. A public body may hold a closed session and exclude the public only when a closed session is required:

(8)        To formulate plans by a local board of education relating to emergency response to incidents of school violence or to formulate and adopt the school safety components of school improvement plans by a local board of education or a school improvement team.

."

 

part viii.  Crisis kits

SECTION 8.  Article 8C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑105.52.  School crisis kits.

The Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety through the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools, shall adopt policies on the placement of school crisis kits in schools and on the contents of those kits. The kits shall include at a minimum basic first‑aid supplies, communications devices, and other items recommended by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The principal of each school, in coordination with the law enforcement agencies that are part of the local board of education's emergency response plan, shall place one or more crisis kits at appropriate locations in the school."

 

PART IX.  CONFORMING CHANGES FOR charter schools and regional schools

SECTION 9.(a)  G.S. 115C‑238.29F is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(a1)     Emergency Response Plan. A charter school shall, in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, adopt an emergency response plan relating to incidents of school violence. These plans are not a public record as the term "public record" is defined under G.S. 132‑1 and shall not be subject to inspection and examination under G.S. 132‑6.

Charter schools shall also comply with the provisions in G.S. 115C‑105.49(b), 115C‑105.50, and 115C‑105.52."

SECTION 9.(b) G.S. 115C‑238.66 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(7a)     Emergency Response Plan. A regional school shall, in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, adopt an emergency response plan relating to incidents of school violence. These plans are not a public record as the term "public record" is defined under G.S. 132‑1 and shall not be subject to inspection and examination under G.S. 132‑6.

Regional schools shall also comply with the provisions in G.S. 115C‑105.49(b), 115C‑105.50, and 115C‑105.52."

 

part x.  emergency and crisis training

SECTION 10.  The Department of Public Safety, through the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools and in conjunction with the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Instruction, shall develop school emergency and crisis training modules for school employees and provide them to schools as soon as practicable.

 

PART Xi. volunteer school safety resource officer program

SECTION 11.  G.S. 14‑269.2(a) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(3a)     Volunteer school safety resource officer. A person who volunteers as a school safety resource officer as provided by G.S. 162‑25 or G.S. 160A‑288.4."

SECTION 12.  G.S. 14‑269.2(g) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(g)       This section shall not apply to any of the following:

(7)        A volunteer school safety resource officer providing security at a school pursuant to an agreement as provided in G.S. 115C‑47(61) and either G.S. 162‑25 or G.S. 160A‑288.4, provided that the volunteer school safety resource officer is acting in the discharge of the person's official duties and is on the educational property of the school that the officer was assigned to by the head of the appropriate local law enforcement agency."

SECTION 13.  G.S. 115C‑47 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"§ 115C‑47.  Powers and duties generally.

In addition to the powers and duties designated in G.S. 115C‑36, local boards of education shall have the power or duty:

(61)      To Provide a Safe School Environment. Local boards of education may enter into an agreement with the sheriff, chief of police of a local police department, or chief of police of a county police department to provide security at the schools by assigning volunteer school safety resource officers who meet the selection standards and criteria developed by the head of the appropriate local law enforcement agency and the criteria set out in G.S. 162‑25 or G.S. 160A‑288.4, as appropriate."

SECTION 14.  G.S. 160A‑282(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)       The board of commissioners of any county may provide that persons who are deputized by the sheriff of the county as special deputy sheriffs or persons who are serving as volunteer law‑enforcement officers at the request of the sheriff and under his authority, while undergoing official training and while performing duties on behalf of the county pursuant to orders or instructions of the sheriff, shall be entitled to benefits under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act and to any fringe benefits for which such persons qualify.

This subsection shall not apply to volunteer school safety resource officers as described in G.S. 162‑25."

SECTION 15.  Chapter 162 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 162‑25.  Sheriff may establish volunteer school safety resource officer program.

(a)        The sheriff may establish a volunteer school safety resource officer program to provide nonsalaried special deputies to serve as school safety resource officers in public schools. To be a volunteer in the program, a person must have prior experience as either (i) a sworn law enforcement officer or (ii) as a military police officer with a minimum of two years' service. If a person with experience as a military police officer is no longer in the armed services, the person must also have an honorable discharge. A program volunteer must receive training on research into the social and cognitive development of elementary, middle, and high school children and must also meet the selection standards and any additional criteria established by the sheriff.

(b)        Each volunteer shall report to the sheriff and shall work under the direction and supervision of the sheriff or the sheriff's designee when carrying out the volunteer's duties as a school safety resource officer. No volunteer may be assigned to a school as a school safety resource officer until the volunteer has updated or renewed the volunteer's law enforcement training and has been certified by the North Carolina Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission as meeting the educational and firearms proficiency standards required of persons serving as special deputy sheriffs. A volunteer is not required to meet the physical standards required by the North Carolina Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission but must have a standard medical exam to ensure the volunteer is in good health. A person selected by the sheriff to serve as a volunteer under this section shall have the power of arrest while performing official duties as a volunteer school safety resource officer.

(c)        The sheriff may enter into an agreement with the local board of education to provide volunteer school safety resource officers who meet both the criteria established by this section and the selection and training requirements set by the sheriff of the county for the schools. The sheriff shall be responsible for the assignment of any volunteer school safety resource officer assigned to a public school and for the supervision of the officer.

(d)        There shall be no liability on the part of and no cause of action shall arise against a volunteer school safety resource officer, the Sheriff or employees of the sheriff supervising a volunteer school safety officer, or the public school system or its employees for any good faith action taken by them in the performance of their duties with regard to the volunteer school safety resource officer program established pursuant to this section."

SECTION 16.  Article 13 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 160A‑288.4.  Police chief may establish volunteer school safety resource officer program.

(a)        The chief of police of a local police department or of a county police department may establish a volunteer school safety resource officer program to provide nonsalaried special law enforcement officers to serve as school safety resource officers in public schools. To be a volunteer in the program, a person must have prior experience as either (i) a sworn law enforcement officer or (ii) as a military police officer with a minimum of two years' service. If a person with experience as a military police officer is no longer in the armed services, the person must also have an honorable discharge. A program volunteer must receive training on research into the social and cognitive development of elementary, middle, and high school children and must also meet the selection standards and any additional criteria established by the chief of police.

(b)        Each volunteer shall report to the chief of police and shall work under the direction and supervision of the chief of police or the chief's designee when carrying out the volunteer's duties as a school safety resource officer. No volunteer may be assigned to a school as a school safety resource officer until the volunteer has updated or renewed the volunteer's law enforcement training and has been certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission as meeting the educational and firearms proficiency standards required of persons serving as criminal justice officers. A volunteer is not required to meet the physical standards required by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission but must have a standard medical exam to ensure the volunteer is in good health. A person selected by the chief of police to serve as a volunteer under this section shall have the power of arrest while performing official duties as a volunteer school safety resource officer.

(c)        The chief of police may enter into an agreement with the local board of education to provide volunteer school safety resource officers who meet both the criteria established by this section and the selection and training requirements set by the chief of police of the municipality or county in which the schools are located. The chief of police shall be responsible for the assignment of any volunteer school safety resource officer assigned to a public school and for the supervision of the officer.

(d)        There shall be no liability on the part of and no cause of action shall arise against a volunteer school safety resource officer, the chief of police or employees of the local law enforcement agency supervising a volunteer school safety officer, or the public school system or its employees for any good faith action taken by them in the performance of their duties with regard to the volunteer school safety resource officer program established pursuant to this section."

 

part xiI.  effective date

SECTION 17.  Sections 1 through 10 of this act become effective July 1, 2013. Sections 11 through 16 of this act become effective December 1, 2013. Sections 4 through 9 of this act apply beginning with the 2013‑2014 school year. The schematic diagrams and keys to the main entrance of all school facilities referenced in Section 5 of this act shall be provided to local law enforcement prior to January 1, 2014.