State administrator tours Gray Stone, speaks with students

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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Gray Stone students and administration received a visit recently from the executive director of the Center for Safer Schools.

Karen Fairley, director of the center under the umbrella of the state’s Department of Public Instruction, toured the middle and high school buildings.

Fairley also met with two groups of students, one from high school and the other from the middle school, to ask about their thoughts and concerns regarding safety.

Several of the high school students complimented the staff for their efforts in keeping the school safe.

Freshman John Luca said “what works best for me is the creative environment that the staff will place out for us. They are willing to listen to us.”

Fairley said to high school students the word “safety” does not just relate to inside the building, but any issues surrounding the community, both mental and physical.

Freshman Taylor Vitaly called Gray Stone safe but mentioned some students are concerned “because they are not safe with themselves or when they go out with friends. They don’t make the safest choices. While we are at school, we have a very safe environment.”

Junior Noel Hernandez echoed those sentiments. He said the bathroom facilities “are not something that people can comfortably use without people climbing over the stalls.”

Fairley asked students to report problems to “a trusted adult” for starters. However, if the issue is too embarrassing or students don’t want to be the person who goes to an adult, students can use the SaySomething anonymous reporting app on their smartphones.

“The app is completely anonymous,” Fairley said. “It brings it to (a staff member’s) attention, because some things you may not want to talk about in public because it might be embarrassing…(The app) does alert your administrator that there is a concern they can address. They don’t have to know who it is who’s telling it.”

Regarding the visit, Gray Stone Chief Administrative Officer Helen Nance said she felt Fairley “was very pleased with our school. She was particularly impressed with the cleanliness and security. We do talk with our students about safety outside the school and how to be aware of their surroundings.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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