• News from the Board -- September 6, 2022

    Posted by Jessica wells on 9/7/2022 1:45:00 PM


    The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on September 6 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items included a NCSBA Board of Directors nomination, emergency operations highlights, the amotion proposed final order, and a Board member resignation. Member Ken Reddic was not in attendance.  

    In lieu of a typical Good News Spotlight segment, Board Chairman Bob Williams commended the work of Northside High School Principal Brad Staley, NHS staff, and the entire Northside community for how well they responded to the tragic death of a student the week prior.  

    Two people spoke during the public comment section of the meeting.  

    First on the meeting’s general business was a nomination for the NCSBA Board of Directors. The Board unanimously approved member Bill Lanier’s nomination to represent Onslow County on the North Carolina School Boards Association.  

    Next, Director of Safety and Security Dusty Rhodes took to the podium for a presentation on efforts the district is continually making to make our campuses safer. Rhodes shared that the district currently has 31 school resource officers on staff, with 10 coming from Jacksonville Police Department and 21 from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department. All middle and high schools have at least one dedicated officer on campus, while there is one officer on duty for every 2 elementary schools. By January 1, 2023, the district plans to bring on an additional 12 SROs, giving each school a dedicated officer.  

    In addition to our strong partnerships with law enforcement, including extensive crisis training, the district is proud of the upgrades made to our schools’ physical security. Camera systems and door access systems have all been recently updated, greatly improving the security of our instructional facilities.  

    The district has also implemented technology tools to make staff and students more active participants in promoting school safety. Over the last few years, OCS has implemented the Raptor system, which features an app that allows any staff member to call for a lockdown, shelter in place, evacuation, etc. in the event of an emergency. The Say Something Anonymous Reporting System allows for staff, students, parents, or any member of the community to report concerning information to a crisis center. Anything of concern can be reported using this system, including suicide risks, bullying, school threats, and more. The crisis center which receives reports directs them to the proper authorities, whether that be the school, local police, etc.  

    Rhodes shared that in light of the recent violence at Northside High, staff will be investigating and researching ways to make schools even more secure.  

    Next, BOE Attorney Alex Erwin presented to the Board the Amotion Proposed Final Order. This order officially justifies and concludes the amotion outcome and process that removed former Board member Eric Whitfield from office on August 31, 2022. Member Melissa Oakley recused herself from the vote. The Board approved the order 4-0.  

    Last on the agenda was the resignation of Board Member Joseph Speranza. Speranza shared that he would be stepping down from his seat on the Board to focus on his health. The Board unanimously accepted his resignation and wished him well moving forward.  

    To conclude the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Barry Collins shared his gratitude for OCS staff, especially those at Northside High School, and the students and families in the Northside community for the way they came together and responded in the wake of tragedy. He also expressed his gratitude for our law enforcement partners. Moving forward, Dr. Collins said that many options to improve school safety will be under consideration.  

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