Wake County School Board pledges change following deadly stabbing: 'We're going to do better'

Jamiese Price Image
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
'We're going to do better': School board pledges change after stabbing
The Wake County School Board met Tuesday for the first time since the death of 15-year-old Delvin Ferrell a Southeast Raleigh High School student.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County School Board met Tuesday for the first time since the death of 15-year-old Delvin Ferrell, a Southeast Raleigh High School student.

School Board Chairman Chris Heagarty pledged to do better for the students after Ferrell's death and a 16-year-old classmate, who is still recovering from his injuries.

"I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers. But I have a belief that we're going to do better, " he continued.

Parents like Melanie Harris also showed up to make sure the district holds to their promises to do better. She also came up with her solutions to the school's safety concerns

Whatever happens in a neighborhood, it spills onto the school bus and then it spills over into the schools," said Harris.

"I do believe that metal detectors do need to be put inside of schools and the kids do need clear backpacks," she continued.

Other parents like Diane Chandler called out the district. She said they failed the students.

"Where were the adults? The mother told the school this might happen," said Chandler.

The investigation into the death of Ferrell is now in its second week, but questions as to what happened and who may have known there was a threat of violence haven't been answered.

But school leaders shared steps to improve school safety, including hiring more personnel, lessons in conflict resolutions, and launching a new campaign to encourage students to say something if they see something.

We took their public safety improvement plans to school security expert Dr. Ken Trump.

"In training school staff, we stress three things supervision, supervision, and supervision," said Trump.

"The strongest security in a school is the adult supervision of children, particularly in areas where you have high traffic and congregations such as class changes, hallways ."

Trump is the President of National School Safety and Security Services. He said parents may want to see tangible changes like more school resource officers and metal detectors but that may not be the best option.

"We're seeing school officials across the country make knee-jerk reactions, pander to emotions, and put up shiny objects and security theater with more products, technology, and equipment just to appease people's emotional security. But it's not making a difference with the people part that we have to deal with," he explained.

Back at the school board, Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor shared plans to establish a task force to address parents and community concerns

"My goal as superintendent is to convene a group I hate to use the word task force, but I will use that to coalesce all of the resources that we have to benefit, not only Southeast Raleigh High School but every single student we can."