Former sheriff, current students frustrated at lack of action on school shooting threat in NC

May 8, 2019

Images of the latest school shooting, broadcast from Colorado, may prompt Triangle parents to wonder what steps are taken here to keep children safe in the classroom.

There are no shortages of ideas here on how to fix the problem – but which ones are getting through?

Former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison helped lead a special committee on school shootings. Back in February, they handed 33 recommendations to the governor, including requests for mental health training, an officer in every school and increased building security.

“If all those recommendations were enacted, would that end school shootings? No,” Harrison acknowledged. Still, he says there is not enough will to do what it really takes.

“We have got to stop pointing fingers at each other,” he said. “A lot of the problem is they don’t want to admit it could happen here.” Harrison says cameras in all classrooms and allowing teachers and principals the freedom to report potentially dangerous students without fear for their jobs are necessary.

“If you listen to some of the lawyers and some of the people, they will say you can’t do that,” Harrison said. “Yes, you can, there has got to be a way.”

Greear Webb and Woody Wisz, seniors at Sanderson High School in Raleigh and founders of Young Americans Protest, shared their frustrations and worries, too.

“We are students and our lives in danger,” Wisz said.

“There should be laws preventing these people from getting the guns ahead of time. There should be increased security. There should be ways to stop this without having students lose their lives.”

Gun control proposals since the shooting in Parkland, Fla., have failed to gain traction with North Carolina lawmakers. A bill is pending in the House which would upgrade security in public schools and allow for mental health screenings. But are these ideas enough?

“We won’t stop it, but if we could just cut back on it, that is key,” Harrison said.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s Office said his budget includes millions to protect schools, but he must work with state lawmakers to get school safety proposals passed.