Bill to honor slain college students

May 28, 2008 5:09:49 PM PDT
Students in North Carolina's private and public colleges would be required to mentor public school-age children to receive a bachelor's degree after 2012, under a bill filed this week.

Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, named the proposed community service program in memory of two college students who were shot to death earlier this year -- Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student.

The bill would require any student seeking a bachelor's degree to spend 20 hours per semester mentoring and tutoring a public school-age child. The bill doesn't specify how many semesters the mentoring would be required.

The requirement would apply to private schools because it would be linked to grants that these colleges already receive from the state to help teach students who live in North Carolina.

Rand said Wednesday the program would help at-risk youth because college students can set a good example for children.

"These college students are particularly qualified and it would be great to have them helping our pupils," Rand said in an interview.

Laurence Lovette, who is charged with murder in both the slayings of Carson and Mahato, and Demario Atwater, who is accused in Carson's death, were both high school dropouts.

The bill text says tutoring and mentoring "will help to address issues related to an increase in the dropout rate among school-aged students (and) the proliferation of gang activity across the state."

The bill sets aside $230,000 next year to local school districts to coordinate with the program.


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