Nurses discuss how they contribute to school safety during School Safety Committee meeting

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- School safety and student mental health were the main topics discussed at the House Select Committee on School Safety meeting at the legislative office building in Raleigh on Monday.

The committee, made up of lawmakers, was formed in response to the massacre in Parkland, Florida. Members have been discussing ways to make schools in North Carolina safer.

Retired school nurse Liz Newlin, of the School Nurse Association of North Carolina, spoke at the committee meeting about the important role nurses play.

"Our big thing is prevention," she said to ABC11. "We don't want to get to the point where we have one of these situations occur with all the crises we've seen in these other schools. We want to be able to identify students that need and deal with them immediately so they don't get to the point where it's a crisis in the school."

"The primary thing we need right now is more funding for school nurses," said Rob Thompson, Deputy Director of NC Child. "That is really what we want to see coming out of this committee's recommendations over the next couple of weeks."

Just last week, Governor Roy Cooper announced he'd like to see a boost for school safety.

His budget recommendation includes $40 million alone for personnel such as nurses, counselors, psychologists and social workers.

RELATED: Wake County Public Schools budget calls for more school support staff

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, there was 1 school psychologist for about every 2,100 public school students in North Carolina in 2016-2017.

The committee's recommendations could end up in the hands of the General Assembly.
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