Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Ask Families About Safety, Maybe Remove School Resource Officers

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Chapel Hill Carrboro Municipal Schools (CHCCS) officials are sending online surveys to families of middle and high school students to learn how the district can make learning environments safer for students.

The online survey will be sent to families on Thursday, and they will have until May 22 to complete it.

This is an anonymous survey that will ask families how safe their students feel at school. Additionally, it will also ask for their thoughts on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program at the school.

“We want a general perception of the safety of our family and our students in schools,” said Andy Jenks, spokesperson for the CHCCS.

The survey is being sent to families a week after a school fight between a group of girls at East Chapel Hill Secondary School.

As CBS 17 previously reported, a fight broke out in the lobby between a group of girls who were talking on Thursday, May 5.

School officials told CBS 17 it took several minutes before the students were separated.

A separate fight then began in the parking lot, and the district said a family member assaulted a police officer.

Jenks said the district planned to send this investigation long before last week’s fight at East Chapel Hill High School, but the fight reinforced why uncovering this information is critical.

Jenks said this survey will help the district determine how to improve school safety and determine the future of the school resource program.

CBS 17 asked Jenks if there was any chance the SRO program could be pulled from the CHCCS.

“Right now, we want to hear from our community about school safety and the school resource program, and only after that will we be fully informed about what the future might look like,” Jenks said.

CBS 17 has learned through emails sent to parents that there have been at least four fights at East Chapel Hill High School this school year.

In one of the fights, a student sprayed pepper spray and other students had to be treated and monitored by the school nurse.

“I pick up my kid every day and he tells me stories of fights and they have to call 911,” said Amanda Kolman, parent of a high school student.

Currently, there is at least one school resource officer in every middle school and high school in the district.

Kolman told CBS 17 last week that with increased fighting at East Chapel Hill High School, she believes students need all the protection at school they can get.

“School Resource Officers are a security feature in the school, so why would anyone decide this is a budget to cut, when these things escalate, it’s beyond comprehension,” Kolman said.

CHCCS families will have until May 22 to complete the survey.

The CHCCS administration will present its final report regarding school safety, as well as safety and the future of the SRO program at the June 2 school board meeting.

The board will make a decision about school safety and the future of the school resource officer program on June 16.

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