House Select Committee On Substance Abuse Proposes School Bathroom Monitoring

The House Select Committee on Substance Abuse met Tuesday, April 16, to hear a Pew Charitable Trust presentation and discuss five recommendations to the General Assembly. During these discussions, Rep. Donna McDowell White (R-Johnston) emphasized the importance of preventative measures, proposing bathroom monitoring in public schools, and said that drug use and exchanges are happening every day in school bathrooms.

Pew’s previous presentation on substance use care, treatment, and support services spurred these conversations. Rep. Amber M. Baker (R-Cabarrus) spoke on the recommendation as a former school administrator, noting support for the recommended effort to keep students safe but also highlighting the need to ensure personnel are provided adequate training and support as part of any legislative mandate for public schools.

Rep. Renée A. Price (D-Orange) concurred with Rep. White regarding the importance of prevention measures in schools but also raised doubts about the efficacy of bathroom monitoring. She expressed concerns that children, being resourceful, might relocate illicit activities to other areas. These discussions resulted in the committee adding a sixth recommendation for the full General Assembly to consider mandating an education program in school systems that would include a policy to better monitor bathrooms, as well as looking at the funding needed to support this effort. This recommendation was rolled into the report, which the committee unanimously adopted to send forward for further consideration when the General Assembly convenes its short session on April 24.

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