The state steps in to help protect the safety of community college students

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Community College board is giving schools the thumbs up to discuss ways to refuse admission to students they consider a threat. Cape Fear Community College currently has an open door policy. That means applicants are not required to disclose any information about their personal background, but the school says that could soon change.

When it comes to safety some CFCC students say they’re comfortable at school.

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“With the Tucson shootings and Virginia Tech I feel safe,” said Taylor Flannery, a CFCC student. “I think the school is trying to do a good job and I think now with the Arizona shootings that we are going to improve that.”

The state community college board voted friday to move forward with a new rule to help increase student safety.

“Up until this point it’s been after students were enrolled, so with this rule what the rule will do will allow colleges to take a proactive step to add an extra layer of security before the student actually enrolls in the college,” said CFCC spokesman David Hardin.

The new rule will give schools more power to refuse students during the application process who could be a potential threat or harm to other students. Some students think labeling applicants as a danger or threat rides a thin line.

“Some people do things earlier in life and they still have a chance to make a change and if they want the chance to make a change and come back and get in school i don’t think they should be penalized for it,” said CFCC student Samod Chandler. “Everyone has a chance to make a change.”

The school agrees.

“We don’t want to put anymore walls up and we don’t want to restrict access to education because that’s really why we are here so anyone that can benefit from education and job training we don’t want to eliminate that possibility for them,” said Hardin.

Community colleges in North Carolina already have the authority to suspend or expel problem students, but this new rule could help them filter applicants before they even step on to the campus.

“I do feel it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Flannery.

School officials say this is an issue North Carolina community colleges have been discussing since August.