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Wake County school board renames West Apex High as Apex Friendship High

More to come later, but here’s a quick recap of today’s Wake County school board meeting.

The board voted 5-3 along party lines to rename West Apex High as Apex Friendship High. The vote came after speakers on both sides of the issue made their case in a debate that took on racial overtones.

During the work session, the board directed new Superintendent Jim Merrill to review both the 15 recommendations from the school safety task force and the idea of creating a school district police force.

Wake County school board to discuss school safety, gifted education, ethics and school names

School safety, academically gifted education, board member ethics and school names are among the topics that the Wake County school board will deal with Tuesday.

During the work session, the board will discuss the recommendations from the task force that was formed to review school safety. Several media outlets have focused on how Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, a task force co-chair, suggested the school system form its own police force, but that's not officially part of the task force's recommendations.

Also during the work session, the board will receive an audit report on the district's academically and intellectually gifted education program. The audit found various problems with how the AIG program is implemented.

1375792096 Wake County school board to discuss school safety, gifted education, ethics and school names The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wake County school safety task force to recommend hiring additional school counselors

We're getting a sneak peak at what the Wake County school safety task force will recommend today, and it looks like they're talking more about additional counselors than police officers.

In a press release from Legal Aid of North Carolina this morning, the group says the 19 recommendations that will be presented to the school board today include:

* Provide access to peer mediation and alternative dispute resolution (e.g., restorative justice) programs or services.

Wake County school board to vote Tuesday on new superintendent

It looks like Thursday's night closed-session discussion was fairly productive.

The agenda for Tuesday's Wake County school board meeting includes a vote on hiring the new superintendent. The board met Thursday night deciding whether to still hire James Merrill or to move on to Ann Clark or Dana Bedden.

Other items on the agenda include receiving the report from the task force studying how to improve school safety, selling the Forest Ridge High School site, naming the two new high schools in Garner and Cary, offering bonuses to bus drivers and starting a new bus driver referral incentive program.

Wake has also apparently found a buyer now for the former headquarters on Wake Forest Road in North Raleigh. It's on the agenda for the work session.

Wake County may put a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for some offenses

Are there some infractions that Wake County students should never receive out-of-school suspensions for committing?

As noted in today's article, the school system is looking at a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for "Level I" offenses. Students disciplined for those infractions would only be given in-school suspensions.

According to Wake's code of student conduct, Level I offenses include non-compliance, in which students refuse to follow directions of school personnel or volunteers who are authorized to give such directions.

Wake County school board concerned about police response to Enloe High School water-balloon prank

Wake County school board members let it be known tonight that they're concerned about how Raleigh police responded to last month's water-balloon prank at Enloe High School that resulted in the arrests of seven students.

Democratic and Republican board members said the police response showed the need to revisit the district's discipline and law enforcement policies. The discussion came up as board members agreed to renew contracts for school resource officers in high schools in Raleigh and Cary for the 2013-14 school year.

“I too like everyone else was saddened and upset when we saw the Enloe incident, and the tapes are extremely disturbing for us to watch,” said school board member Tom Benton.

1370399308 Wake County school board concerned about police response to Enloe High School water-balloon prank The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Speakers on SROs, gifted education and the Enloe High School water-balloon incident

There are 21 people signed up to speak at tonight's Wake County school board meeting.

You've got four people to talk about votes to renew the school district's school resource officer contracts with Raleigh and Cary. Based on the names listed, you'll probably hear them question the contracts.

You've got five people signed up to speak about the arrests for the Enloe High School water-balloon incident. At least some of the speakers include students who were arrested. They want the criminal charges dismissed.

You've also got nine people talking about gifted education, single subject acceleration and math placement. Speakers have been showing up at the last few school board meetings to complain about how Wake is offering single-subject acceleration in math under the new common core curriculum.

UPDATE

Citing the length of the agenda, school board chairman Keith Sutton said they'll take public comment for 30 minutes. This means they'd hear from all the people who are speaking about items on the agenda.

Sutton said the remaining speakers would be allowed to speak at the end of the meeting.

Fallout over school construction bill spills over into Wake County school bond meeting

it's safe to say that the ongoing struggle over who will control school construction in Wake County had a noticeable impact on Thursday's joint meeting of the school board and county commissioners.

As noted in today's article, several heated exchanges between school board members and commissioners took place as they discussed this $939.9 million school construction program. Officials readily acknowledged that the Senate's passage of Senate Bill 236 on Wednesday helped raise the emotions.

"You’ve got some lingering tension over the victory we had in the Senate yesterday,” said Joe Bryan, chairman of the board of commissioners, in an interview. “We’ve got to come together to get a bond passed.”

Joint meeting ends in heated exchange between Paul Coble and Jim Martin

More to come later, but there was an abrupt end to today's joint Wake County school board and board of commissioners meeting on the bond issue.

School board chairman Keith Sutton adjourned the meeting early to cut off the heated exchange between Commissioner Paul Coble and school board member Jim Martin. Coble accused the school board of not showing how it was going to stretch dollars to save money while Martin accused him of not making honest statements to the public.

In one particularly heated moment, Martin asked Coble to say how he'd save money. Martin asked if Coble wanted mandatory year-round, saying he'd offer to share with him all the letters from parents who hate the idea.

Duke to Sound the Alarms

Local police this sunday will be doing mock crisis management drills. So if you're out and about on campus and see police running around firing paint balls, remain calm. All is well.

The drills are part of a series of campus safety improvements Duke is implementing in reaction to last year's shootings at Virginia Tech, which forced universities to take a fresh look at how they secure themselves. 

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