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  • Summary date: May 5 2021 - View Summary

    House amendment makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Part II.

    Amends GS 115C-105.65 by adding the North Carolina School Psychology Association to  the entities with whom the Center for Safer Schools must consult with in developing policies for threat assessment teams for public school units. 

  • Summary date: Apr 27 2021 - View Summary

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Part I. 

    Amends the proposed new subsections of GS 115C-218.75 (concerning charter schools), GS 115C-238.66 (concerning regional schools), and GS 115C-239.8 (concerning laboratory schools), requiring charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools to comply with the requirements for public school units in Part 2 of Article 8C, as amended (previously required compliance with the applicant requirements of Part 2). 

    Part II.

    Makes a technical correction to a federal statutory reference in proposed GS 115C-105.65.

  • Summary date: Apr 22 2021 - View Summary

    Part I. 

    Codifies the existing statutes of Article 8C of GS Chapter 115C into two Parts. Codifies GS 115C-105.46 (State Board of Education responsibilities), GS 115C-47A (Proposals to establish alternative learning programs or alternative schools), and GS 115C-105.48 (Placement of students in alternative learning schools/alternative learning programs) into Part 1, titled Local Plans for Alternative Schools/Alternative Learning Programs, and the remaining sections of Article 8C into Part 2, Maintaining Safe and Orderly Schools.

    Amends GS 115C-105.49(a) and (d), GS 115C-105.49A(b), GS 115C-105.52, GS 115C-105.53(a) and (b), and GS 115C-105.54(a), to refer to "public school unit" rather than "local school administrative unit."

    Further amends GS 115C-105.49, adding a new requirement for each public school unit to report the date and time the full school-wide tabletop exercise and drill (drill) is conducted to the Center for Safer Schools (Center).

    Further amends GS 115C-105.49A, additionally requiring the Division of Emergency Management (Division) to leverage the schematic diagrams of participating nonpublic schools' facilities in constructing the School Risk and Response Management System (SRRMS) (currently, only includes public school units). Makes conforming changes to GS 115C-105.53(b). Further amends GS 115C-105.53 to require public school units to provide law enforcement agencies with updated access to school buildings when changes are made to other access control devices in addition to locks to main entrances or to key storage devices.

    Amends GS 115C-105.52, authorizing the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Division of School Operations, and the Center for Safer Schools to consult with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in developing and adopting policies on the placement of school crisis kits in schools and on the contents of the kits (previously directed the Center to consult with DPS and the Division of School Operations).

    Repeals specified subsections of GS 115C-218.75 (concerning charter schools), GS 115C-238.66 (concerning regional schools), and GS 115C-239.8 (concerning laboratory schools) regarding respective School Risk Management Plans (SRMPs), school safety exercises, and school safety information reported to the Division. Instead, enacts a new subsection to each statute requiring charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools to comply with the applicable requirements of Part 2 of Article 8C, as amended. Similarly, makes the same requirements applicable to innovative schools, adding to GS 115C-75.9. Enacts GS 115C-150.16, adding the same requirements to schools for students with visual and hearing impairments.

    Amends GS 115C-551 to more specifically refer to private church schools or schools of religious charter regarding voluntary participation in State programs. Adds a new section encouraging all private church schools and all schools of religious charter to adopt a SRMP in coordination with local law enforcement, provide schematic diagrams and main entrance keys to local law enforcement agencies (in addition to implementing companion provisions in GS 115C-105.52), at least annually hold a full school-wide lockdown exercise, and provide specified safety information to the Division. Amends GS 115C-559 to more specifically refer to qualified nonpublic schools regarding voluntary participation in State programs. Adds a new section encouraging the same school safety protocols as those added to GS 115C-551, above.

    Part II.

    Enacts GS 115C-105.65 in Article 8C. Sets forth defined terms. Requires public school units to adopt policies for establishing threat assessment teams consistent policies developed by the Center for Safer Schools at the direction of the statute. Defines threat assessment team to mean a multidisciplinary team that includes but is not limited to persons with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement that conducts threat assessments in a public school unit when threatening behavior has been communicated and when a student has engaged in threatening behavior that warrants further evaluation; requires, to the extent practicable, inclusion of a school psychologist or a psychologist or psychiatrist; provides for non-school personnel to access necessary student records subject to a written confidentiality agreement. Requires the policies to include procedures for referrals to health care providers for evaluation or treatment, when appropriate. Defines threatening behavior to mean any communication or action that indicates that an individual may pose a danger to the safety or well-being of school staff or students through acts of violence or other behaviors that would cause harm to self or others, communicated orally, visually, in writing, electronically, or through any other means and can be considered threatening. 

    Directs the Center for Safer Schools to develop policies for threat assessment teams for public school units in consultation with specified State and non-State entities, which must include procedures for the (1) assessment of and intervention with a student whose behavior poses a risk to the safety of school staff, students or self; (2) involvement of the student's parent or legal guardian throughout the threat assessment process; (3) referral to LME/MCOs for evaluation or treatment; and (4) compliance with specified state and federal laws. Requires the Center to establish these policies by December 31, 2021. 

    Permits superintendents to establish a committee charged with coordination and monitoring of the threat assessment teams, or charge an existing committee. Mandates that each school in the public school unit have a multidisciplinary threat assessment team established by the superintendent. Grants the superintendent discretion in establishing a threat assessment team that can serve more than one school in the unit. Details five duties of threat assessment teams, including conducting threat assessments to determine appropriate actions and intervention based on the level of risk determined by the assessment, ranging from low risk to imminent risk, as described. Sets out the practice for the threat assessment team to immediately notify the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee upon a determination that an individual poses a high risk or imminent risk threat of violence or physical harm to self or others (as described), and details the required response(s) of the superintendent or the designee upon such report, including immediate attempts to notify the student’s parent or legal guardian. Clarifies that public school personnel are not precluded from acting immediately to address threatening behavior. Establishes reporting requirements for each threat assessment team established to the Center for Safer Schools. Provides for attainment of health records and criminal records upon a determination by the threat assessment team that an individual exhibited threatening behavior that poses a high risk or an imminent risk. Provides for confidentiality of records obtained, only allowing release in connection with an emergency under the standards of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

    Provides civil immunity to governing bodies of public school units, its members, employees, designees, agents and volunteers for acts and omissions relating to the participation in or implementation of any component of threat assessment team policies required by the act; excludes gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Specifies that the statute does not impose a specific duty or standard of care. Directs all public school units to establish policies and threat assessment teams no later than March 1, 2022.

    Enacts GS 143B-931.1, authorizing the Department of Public Safety to provide criminal record checks to members of a threat assessment team pursuant to GS 115C-105.65. Reiterates confidentiality requirements of threat assessment team members.

    Amends GS 115C-47 to require local boards of education to require peer-to-peer student support programs be established at all school with grades six and higher, and encouraging local boards to implement the support programs as appropriate in other grades. Amends GS 115C-316.1 to require school counselors to coordinate and provide training for students in peer-to-peer student support programs that address conflict resolution, general health and wellness, and mentoring. Provides that the Center for Safer Schools will support school counselors in the administration and delivery of these support programs. Encourages all local boards to have peer-to-peer programs by the 2021-22 school year. Applies beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

    Enacts GS 122C-115.4(b)(9) to require LME/MCOs to receive referrals from school superintendents or designees pursuant to GS 115C-105.65, as enacted. Requires the LME/MCO to contact the student's parent or legal guardian with 10 days of receipt of the referral to provide assistance with identifying appropriate existing mental health resources available to the student, as well as identifying sources of funding to assist with the costs.

    Applicable beginning with the 2021-22 school year.