DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A week after a student was stabbed at Northern High School in Durham, state leaders met Wednesday to address school and student safety.
The meeting was held at the Department of Public Safety Juvenile Justice Center and included representatives from the UNC System, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
There was a heavy emphasis placed on the mental health approach to student safety.
"I think it's because a lot of these kids went undiagnosed for a long period of time," said William Lassiter, deputy secretary for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. "So the services they need now are more intensive because those mental illnesses have been able to fester over time instead of being treated over the pandemic."
Lassiter said the state's juvenile detention centers are over capacity and 80 young people don't have beds.
"That means 80 kids are sleeping on the floor," he said.
Meanwhile, Karen Fairley, the executive director for the Center for Safer Schools, is crediting the state's Say Something anonymous reporting system with helping save lives and keep schools safe.
"This has been great in supporting our schools and supporting our students," said Fairley. "And when I look at it and I see it in real-time, I'm encouraged that we did the right thing in securing an anonymous reporting system and that we have entrusted our children to the right crisis center."
From July 1 through Sept. 15, the system has received 1,200 tips from across the state. The top five tips, in specific order, include bullying/cyberbullying, drug use/distribution, suicide/suicide ideation, cutting/self-harm, and harassment/intimidation.
Fairley said the system also allows leaders to see whether there is an issue with a child that poses a threat to themselves or somebody else and then connect a student with the proper support.
Since the reporting system was launched, there have been more than 25,800 tips received.
Leaders are also related that House Bill 605 gives them the ability to take advantage of school threat assessment teams. In part, state leaders updated what they referred to as "action codes" that will allow the state and districts to better identify what "status" a school is in.
Just last week, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools went on an hours-long lockdown because of a gun scare on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.
After visiting schools across the state, Fairley said she believes North Carolina schools are in a good position.
"I sleep well when I know that our schools are doing the very best that they can," she said. "They are doing what they can. And I'm confident that when I go and do my school tours, I am never hesitant to know that our schools are doing a great job. The safety directors, the administrators, the superintendents -- everybody in North Carolina is pulling together and they're doing what they need."