In the most recent legislative session, state Rep. Jon Hardister has been a very busy bee – filing a number of widely varied bills in succession – and the legislator continued that trend this week: On Thursday, April 18, Hardister filed NC House Bill 940 – titled the “Health Care Provider Authorization to Report’ – a bill intended to clarify that health care providers can report threats of violence from minors under the age of 18 when they’re undergoing treatment.

State Reps. Josh Dobson (McDowell County), Kevin Corbin (Macon County) and Gale Adcock (Wake County) joined Hardister in filing the bipartisan legislation meant to help protect youngsters.

Hardister said this week that improving school safety is of utmost importance and he said that’s exactly what this bill is supposed to do.

“This legislation is an important step to increase school safety,” Hardister said. “Having open communication between health care providers, law enforcement and school administrators helps to promote a safer learning environment for students.  We need to make sure health care professionals know that they are free to report potential acts of violence.”

According to a statement put out by Hardister this week coinciding with the bill, this action could help address threats before anyone is harmed.

“This bill would authorize communication from the health care provider to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the threat of violence is directed,” the statement reads.  “If the threat is directed at a school, then the health care professional would be authorized to report the threat to the principal of the school or the superintendent of the local school administrative unit.”

According to Hardister and the others supporting the bill, these aren’t limited to threats made by the minor but instead also include ones that the minor fears could happen – and he or she therefore reports the threat to the school nurse or some other healthcare professional.

The bill proposed this week would make it clear that a health care professional has the legal right to report these types of threats. By doing so, the bill, if it becomes law, would provide immunity to any health care provider who, acting in good faith, notifies the authorities of a threat.